Strike Day 50: Marriott hotel workers have Thanksgiving on picket line

- The sole Bay Area holdout in a lengthy hotel worker strike had their Thanksgiving Day dinner on the picket line Thursday in San Francisco.

There was turkey, trimmings and Christmas decorations as strikers and their children spent the holiday outdoors; a defiant display by the union that they are willing to strike as long as it takes. 

2,500 Marriott workers, represented by UNITE HERE Local 2, entered day 50 of the strike as negotiations with the hotel chain have outlasted hotel worker strikes in Oakland and San Jose, both of which reached agreements with the hotel and ended their strikes respectively earlier this month.  

Union officials claim Marriott refused to end the the strike in "tense" negotiations on Monday and Tuesday. They gave no specific dates for negotiations to resume, but will likely return to the bargaining table after Thanksgiving. 

“It’s remarkable that Marriott chose to keep their workers and their families on the street for Thanksgiving,” said UNITE HERE Local 2 President Anand Singh. “We’re asking the richest hotel company in human history to treat their workers with human dignity. We’ve marched on the picket line through toxic wildfire smoke and winter rains, and we’ll strike through Thanksgiving and picket on Christmas if that’s what it takes.”    

Since October 4, union members, led by Singh and their supporters, have fanned out to picket seven different Marriott-operated hotels throughout the city. Their demands have been for a deal on fair wages with the rally cry: "One Job Should Be Enough." Other demands include; affordable health care, and safe workloads. 

The hotel group was not immediately available for comment but said in a previous written statement that the hotel will stay open during the strike.

Earlier this month, in a letter to San Francisco Supervisor Hilary Ronen, Arne Sorenson, president and CEO of Marriott hotels, said the union was trying to portray Marriott as a company that has both disregarded its bargaining obligations and denied its employees fair wages and benefits. "That could not be further from the truth," he said. 

Meanwhile, the strikers cleverly taunted Marriott on social media: "Hey Marriott, think we're taking a break on Thanksgiving? You ain't seen stuffing yet," a tweet from the union said accompanied by a man in a turkey mascot outfit who was wearing a 'One Job Should Be Enough' t-shirt. 

The strikers in San Francisco are joined in solidarity by 2,700 workers on strike in Hawaii. 

Bay City News contributed to this report  

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