Los Angeles Alliance for a New Economy
Hope for Housekeepers: Grand Hyatt, San Francisco (2009)
Hope for Housekeepers (2009)
Hope for Housekeepers is a national campaign of women, founded by Hyatt housekeepers across the nation to stop the abuse of women in the hotel industry. Nearly all hotel housekeepers are women, and the work we do is difficult and sometimes dangerous. In a survey of over 600 housekeepers by UNITE HERE, 91% of housekeepers reported that they have suffered work-related pain. Of those who reported pain in the survey, two-thirds took pain medication to get through their daily quota.
Hyatt housekeepers often clean as many as 30 hotel rooms a day in just eight hours, and many forgo health insurance for their families because of the high cost. Even worse, Hyatt is slashing jobs, discarding women like the Hyatt 100 in Boston who were fired after training their replacements from an outsourcing agency.
Now Hyatt housekeepers are stepping forward to put an end to this abuse. Hyatt housekeepers are uniting with women from across the country, and together we are bringing a message of hope to the thousands of women working as housekeepers around the globe that things can change. Unionized housekeepers have fought for and won more humane workloads, cleaning around 15 rooms a day, to reduce the rate of injury and pain that can lead to permanent disability in this dangerous line of work. These housekeepers have affordable health insurance and job security that rewards women for their years of service.
Hope for Housekeepers National Tour
To bring this message of hope to women across the country, Hyatt housekeepers are organizing a seven-city tour, featuring the symbol of our movement--the Hope Quilt. In each city, Hyatt housekeepers will hold public events to share our stories of hardship and our hopes for a better life for ourselves, our coworkers, and our families. We will be joined by women in our communities, including prominent local and national advocates for women's health and women's rights, who have joined the Hope for Housekeepers campaign in solidarity to end the abuse of women in the hotel industry.
The Hope Quilt
For generations, quilting has represented an important women's tradition that has enabled women to build community, turn discarded scraps of fabric into something beautiful, and create something that when joined together is bigger and more beautiful than the sum of its parts.
In keeping with this tradition, the Hope Quilt stitches together the stories of Hyatt housekeepers and the pain they endure everyday just to provide for their families. As the tour progresses from city to city, each housekeeper who joins the Hope for Housekeeper movement will add a new patch to the quilt, which will grow to be hundreds of feet long by the end of its journey in just one month's time. With each patch symbolizing a story of pain or injury brought on by the heavy burden of our jobs, the quilt makes visible our lives and our struggle.
As such, this quilt is a testament to our work as housekeepers and our worth has human beings. Like the quilts our mothers and grandmothers made for us, this quilt is the product of our sweat, our tears, and most importantly our love. It is a symbol that together, we can turn our stories of pain into a source of strength that we can use to empower each other and pass on to future generations of women in our industry.
For more information on this campaign, please visit http://www.hotelworkersrising.org/hope/