A union boss has warned against visiting Southern California hotels, stating hotels are not taking COVID-19 precautions seriously. But is this hotel warning just union scaremongering or a new threat to California hotel guests?
A California Hotel Warning
Speaking on KPCC, LA’s NPR affiliate, Kurt Peterson of Unite Here warns that hotels are not following California’s safety protocols for operating during the pandemic.
“I would not go to to a hotel right now…we believe there needs to be a pause until we get it right.”
Addressing California’s decision to allow hotels to re-open last month, he said, “It is reckless and irresponsible. And it should not have been done.”
He provided an example:
“I just got off the phone at a hotel where a kitchen worker contracted COVID-19. And the problem is that the hotel is not telling us or other workers, much less the guests, about that case. And that is contrary to common sense and the L.A. County safety guidelines.”
Peterson said something else that struck me:
“Hotel workers want to go back to work just as much as everyone else, but the union is not willing to sacrifice their health for a paycheck.”
That’s a false dilemma. California unemployment combined with the federal portion of $600/week makes it more lucrative not to work, in many cases.
I cannot help but to think it is also about that. Would you rather do back-breaking labor with inadequate supplies and intense pressure or stay home with your family, stay safe, and make more money? That’s not a hard choice.
There’s something very wrong with a system that incentivizes workers not to work…and a system that pays workers so little that and puts so much pressure on them that they compromise the health mission of the hotel they serve.
Ultimately, Peterson made the argument that until workers have health insurance, we should all boycott Los Angeles and Orange County hotels. It’s the usual union argument.
It makes perfect sense why a union leader would encourage guests to stay away. Layoffs may mean more money for employees, at least for now, than working. But it should come as no surprise that hotels are cutting corners and pushing employees to do more with more limited resources. If you want to stay in a hotel, best just not to think about how dirty it might actually be…
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image: iStock.com/Hispanolistic // H/T: Rene’s Points