On Sunday morning, members of Unite Here Local 24 Detroit started a strike at the Westin Book Cadillac hotel in downtown Detroit. According to the Detroit News,
The strike, which was authorized in September, started at 5 a.m., said Nia Winston, president of Local 24, the hospitality union that represents about 160 workers at the hotel that includes bartenders, servers, cashiers, bellmen, front desk workers and housekeepers, Winston said.
Workers at the Marriott at the Renaissance Center—just a few blocks away—make an average of $2 more an hour, according to reports. One full-time job should be enough to support families, according to the union.
Negotiations have been underway for months, but the hotel and union could not develop a satisfactory contract.
The Westin Book Cadillac opened in 2008 and it was one of the first major buildings to be redeveloped in Detroit. Since it opened at the start of a recession, the workers took a contract with no wage increases. In a statement, Winston said,
“Workers at the Marriott-operated Westin Book stuck by this city through its hardest times, taking years of pay freezes during the recession to make sure the hotel stayed open. Now the Westin Book Cadillac is the most profitable hotel in the city, yet workers here are being punished for their loyalty, not rewarded—hotel workers at the Westin Book make thousands less a year than hotel workers six blocks away in the same city at hotels that are less profitable. After months of negotiations, Marriott has refused to make one job enough for full-time workers to support families on in Detroit or bring us to parity with other Detroit hotels.”
Marriott has run the hotel since 2016. A Marriott International spokesperson has released this statement:
“We are disappointed that Unite Here has chosen to resort to a strike at this time. During the strike our hotels are open, and we stand ready to provide excellent service to our guests. While we respect our associates’ rights to participate in this work stoppage, we also will welcome any associate who chooses to continue to work.”
Marriott hotel workers are also on strike in San Francisco, Oakland, and Boston.