The hotel industry is dominated by global corporations which continue to consolidate, expand, and prosper while wages and working conditions deteriorate. Workers in this industry are predominantly immigrant and African American women, particularly in lower paid housekeeping and un-tipped positions positions. Housekeepers endure heavy lifting, cumbersome equipment and daily room quotas that challenge the limits of human capacity. Many of these workers also work two jobs, giving them limited time for their families or for study and career advancement.
In cities like Oakland, Los Angeles and Phoenix, coalitions of community, civic, labor and faith leaders have been engaged in efforts to improve conditions for hotel workers and the communities they live in. These coalitions are fighting for policies that will ensure a safe working environment, provide living wages and protect workers’ right to organize. They are also expanding training opportunities and immigrant integration/naturalization to provide career ladders and a brighter future for these workers and their families. Shifting the growing tourism sector to sustain both its workforce and the environment, through workplace training, career development, and improved “green” industry practices, will have a positive impact on local economies.