Oct. 9 (UPI) -- Thousands of Marriott Hotel workers in eight U.S. cities have decided to strike for higher wages after months of failed negotiations.
Workers in the Hawaiian cities of Maui and Oahu on Monday joined colleagues in Detroit, Boston, San Diego, Oakland and San Francisco, who began their strike last week.
In total, about 7,700 Marriott workers -- including housekeepers, front desk attendants and most non-management positions -- are on strike. The walkout was organized in coordination with hospitality workers union Unite Here after worker contracts with Marriott International, the world's largest hotel chain, expired a few weeks ago.
"Marriott is the richest and most profitable hotel company in the world, and by taking them on in this historic hotel worker strike, Unite Here union members are going to change the lives of all workers in our industry," said D. Taylor, president of Unite Here.
Negotiations between Marriott and labor unions failed to meet satisfactory demands for both sides. Workers want higher wages and better health insurance plans, but say the offer on the table was not sufficient.
"Marriott has forced this strike. After 5 years of record profits and more than 6 months of contract talks Marriott still doesn't get it," said Local 26 President Brian Lang in a statement. "It's our work that creates the great experience for the hotel guests. We are the reason that they keep coming back. Our demand is modest and fair, One Job Should be Enough."
"None of us are going back to work until the contracts at all the hotels are resolved," Mondala Wilkins, a banquet captain and 22-year Marriott employee in San Diego, told the San Diego Union-Tribune. "I have to live all the way in South Bay in order to find less expensive rental housing and have been working all these years trying to buy a home. It can sometimes be paycheck to paycheck and if we don't have any business at the hotel like a banquet or meeting, we don't work."
Marriott hotel operators said they will continue to stay open during the strike.