Prior to being a Summer Organizer, I went many times to Sacramento to protest the inadequate funding the Golden State is providing its students. I encountered many hotel workers during my travels. As a customer, every hotel worker I met had a smile and a cheerful disposition. Never had it crossed my mind that many of those smiles were a testament to their professionalism and skill in providing excellent customer service. Many of those smiles hide the pain of cleaning 14 or more guest rooms on their knees, and the fear of losing their jobs for simply trying to organize for basic rights.
This summer with UNITE HERE I have had the opportunity to see the hotel industry through the workers’ perspective and not as the privileged customer who may not be able to see the injustices workers face. My first week with UNITE HERE was an adrenaline rush; one of those moments was when I was able to see workers finding the strength by sharing their stories with their managers through the delegations. It was such an inspiring moment to see strong, working-class women demand their rights. These women are strong for sharing their stories, for standing up to Hyatt the corporation, but most importantly for their courage in putting themselves on the front line of the battle. This struggle is not easy, but I believe that each person’s hard work will bring a better working environment and standards for all their co-workers. As workers have said, “an injury to one is an injury to all”.
– Alondra, Summer Organizer, San Jose