Starwood’s Hotel Housekeepers Fight “Fake Green” Program


Photo: UNITE HERE Local 1

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This December, actions to highlight the work and struggle of hotel housekeepers are being coordinated across the globe,  in a “Worldwide Week of Action for Dignity & Safe Work”, with housekeepers from over 30 countries organizing events in their regions.

Chicago’s Local 1, where housekeepers say Starwood’s “Make A Green Choice” program could cost them their jobs,  is one of five UNITE HERE locals participating in North America.

Housekeepers report that the controversial program has led to workplace injuries, lost hours and income for their families, and more chemicals being used on the job. 

On December 5th, housekeepers from three Starwood hotels (Sheraton, Westin River North, and W. City Center) took to the streets of Chicago in protest, organized delegations to all three hotels, and delivered letters to management demanding that Starwood cut the program.

The “Green Choice” program has been widely seen as a way for hotels to cut labor costs rather than conserve energy. Not only do housekeepers get reduced hours when guests use it, but they are forced to work much faster to maintain the same room quota when those rooms are ready to be cleaned. Whereas an average room might usually take 30 minutes to clean, after three days of no service that same room can take an hour and a half – often times using far greater amounts of cleaning products. 

Local 1 represents 3,000 housekeepers in the city. This is the first time the program has been publicly denounced in Chicago. 

For more:

Click here for  Spanish-language television coverage by Univision.