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San Francisco Mayor Jumps Into Marriott Hotel Labor Dispute

On Friday evening, the mayor did just that.

“As a longtime supporter of organized labor, I support the rights of workers to organize, collectively bargain, and advocate for better wages and benefits,” Breed said in a statement to KQED.

“We have been in contact with Unite Here Local 2 and I have invited representatives from the union to my office next week to discuss potential paths forward,” the mayor said.

On Oct. 4 housekeepers, kitchen workers, bartenders bellmen and others walked off the job at the Courtyard by Marriott Downtown, the Marriott Marquis, the Marriott Union Square, the Palace Hotel, the St. Regis, the W and the Westin St. Francis.

Similar strikes by Unite Here workers are taking place in San Jose, Oakland and several other cities around the country including San Diego, Boston and Detroit.

Unite Here Local 2 officials say the San Francisco strike is not expected to end any time soon. A union organizer said that since the walkouts began the two sides have not met, although there are plans to in the near future.

The union says its members are fighting for livable wages, job security and “an end to unsafe overwork,” but has declined to offer details about its contract proposal.

Marriott has consistently said that it’s disappointed in the union’s decision to strike and that the company’s hotels will remain open during the labor action. A spokesman for the hotel chain, though, has repeatedly declined to answer questions about the dispute.

The union’s five year agreement with Marriott ended Aug. 15. During that contract, the median income for its hotel workers was $44,000, according to Unite Here.

The walkouts have struck in the belly of one of San Francisco’s most profitable sectors, its tourism and hospitality industries.

It’s unclear how much pain that industry is feeling. There are some reports of customer complaints at hotels where workers are striking.

The Hotel Council of San Francisco has declined to comment on the strike

The city’s travel association says it’s not seeing a lot of conferences that are changing plans.

“We are aware of one organization that moved from one San Francisco hotel (on strike) to another San Francisco hotel and all ran smoothly,” said Laurie Armstrong Gossy, a spokeswoman for San Francisco Travel, in an email.

“No citywide groups (using multiple hotels) have cancelled or failed to book due to the labor action,” Gossy said.

The Marriott strike marks the biggest hotel labor dispute since workers were locked out of more than a dozen city hotels in 2004, part of a weeks-long conflict that at one point, involved then Mayor Gavin Newsom briefly joining a picket line.

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