Striking San Francisco hotel workers hold downtown rally, approach 2 months on picket line

After nearly two months on the picket line, striking Marriott Hotel workers rallied Saturday morning in downtown San Francisco and declared they'll be out there until a deal is agreed upon.

The workers' march and rally was at 11 a.m., on Market Street between Third and Fourth streets, and came just ahead of the Unite Here Local 2's return to the bargaining table, union leaders said.

The strike by the San Francisco hotel employees, including housekeepers, dishwashers, bellmen and cooks, is in its ninth week. At issue in contract negotiations are wages, affordable health care and safe workloads, organizers say.

"My job at Marriott isn't enough to support my family, so after a full day of cleaning rooms, I have to work the night shift at a Laundromat," said Larrilou Carumba, a housekeeper at the San Francisco Marriott Marquis. "I need fair wages and affordable health care so I can be with my kids 
instead of working two jobs." 

After months of negotiations, nearly 2,500 hotel workers went on strike Oct. 4 at seven downtown San Francisco hotels. Other strikes in San Jose and Oakland have been settled.

“We’re going to be out here rain or shine,  smog whatever it takes we’re going to fight we’re going to be strong about this,” said Daniel Burns, an employee on strike.

Marriott representatives wouldn't comment today on ongoing talks with workers, saying they don't want to negotiate in the press.

"We have successfully reached agreements in Hawaii, Oakland, San Jose, San Diego, Chicago, Detroit and Boston," said Marriott spokesman Jeff Flaherty. "We continue to believe that the best place to resolve these issues is at the bargaining table."