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Marriott and workers settle San Francisco hotel strike

Marriott and workers settle San Francisco hotel strike
Workers picket a Marriott hotel in San Francisco on Oct. 4. A contract agreement has been reached between Marriott and bargainers in San Francisco. (Ben Margot / Associated Press)

Workers at Marriott hotels in San Francisco overwhelmingly voted Monday to settle a nine-week strike, ending the last of a series of walkouts that involved 7,700 workers in eight markets across the country.

Union leaders for workers at Marriott hotels in San Francisco said their members had voted 99.6% in favor of an agreement that would allow about 2,500 employees to return to work as early as Wednesday.

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The settlement puts an end to job actions that began in early October at Marriott hotels in San Diego, Oakland, San Jose, Boston, Detroit and on the Hawaiian islands of Maui and Oahu. The seven other strikes were settled over the last few weeks.

Marriott confirmed that a tentative agreement had been reached in San Francisco. “We look forward to welcoming our associates back,” the company said in a statement.

A spokeswoman for Unite Here, the union representing hotel workers, described the agreement in San Francisco as resulting in the best contract for hotel workers in the city’s history.

Union spokeswoman Rachel Gumpert said workers won significant wage increases and an agreement from Marriott to continue to provide workers their existing health coverage plus contributions to its pension plans.

She said the hourly wages for housekeepers in San Francisco have been as low as $23 an hour — up to $8 an hour more than housekeepers in Detroit and other cities. But she said the cost of living is so high in San Francisco that even $23 an hour was not enough to make ends meet for most housekeepers.

The new contract agreement called for a retroactive raise of $1.75 an hour, dating back to the end of the last contract in August, with regular raises for the next four years.

The agreement in San Francisco also gives housekeepers and other hotel employees who work in isolated locations electronic devices to summon help in case of a sexual assault or harassment, Gumpert said.

In addition, union workers will get assurances that those who might be in danger of being replaced by automation — a check-in kiosk, for example — will get the opportunity to move to new positions in the hotels.

Marriott International is the world's largest hotel company, with about 6,700 properties in more than 130 countries, 177,000 employees and revenue of $22 billion in fiscal 2017.

6:35 p.m.: The article was updated to include the final vote of the union membership in favor of ratifying the contract.

The article was originally published at 5:10 p.m.

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