Book Cadillac workers had support for strike
The 160 hotel service workers who ended a 28-day strike on against the Westin Book Cadillac Detroit had plenty of support during its labor walkout, ranging from the Toronto Maple Leafs, a conference of billionaire philanthropists and business leaders, to Elton John, according to union officials.
The pop legend, the National Hockey League team and the conference called CityLab 2018 were among those who refused to cross the picket line of the unionized bartenders, servers, cashiers, bellmen, front-desk workers and housekeepers during the strike that began on Oct. 7. The workers are represented by the union Unite Here.
The Detroit hotel workers argued that many of them had two jobs because they could not survive on their Book Cadillac pay. The union claimed staff at the nearby Renaissance Center Marriott earned an average of $2 more per hour. Before the strike, a Book Cadillac bellhop was paid $8.50 an hour and a cashier earned $14.50 an hour. Those are below the hourly wages at the three Detroit casinos and the RenCen Marriott, union spokeswoman Rachel Gumpert said. Unite Here represents more than 20,000 Marriott workers in the United States and Canada.
Marriott officials did not respond to The Detroit News' requests for comment about an agreement.
Union officials Saturday when they announced the agreement would not provide details of the new contract that already has been approved by the Book Cadillac workers. Nia Winston, the president of Unite Local 24, called the settlement "historic progress" on wages, healthcare, benefits and working conditions.
"What we’ve achieved will change workers lives and the hotel industry here in Detroit,” she said. She added the new deal would mean workers could now survive one job.
The Book Cadillac employees were part of 8,000 workers who walked off the job at 23 Marriott hotels in eight cities, including Boston, San Diego, San Jose, Oakland, San Francisco, Maui and Oahu, according to the labor union. The Oakland and Detroit workers settled their strikes this weekend.
“We are encouraged by the progress achieved in resolving the strikes in Oakland and Detroit with strong, fair contracts, and are hopeful that similar progress can be achieved in the other six cities still on strike,” said D. Taylor, Unite's international president said in a statement. “The progress made by Marriott this week in both cities shows that they are able to make reasonable movement, and we are hopeful that soon one job will be enough to live with dignity on at every Marriott in all cities.”
Local 24 officials said it would release further details on the settlement after the other striking cities have reached agreements. The six cities are scheduled to be back in bargaining or seeking dates to return to bargaining shortly, officials said.