AnalysisLaborMilitant Journalism

San Diego Town & Country hotel workers demand fair union contract

Over 50 hotel workers and dozens of community members picketed outside Town & Country Hotel Resort in San Diego on June 3. Gathering at 5:00 p.m., the hour-long picket sent a message to Town & Country management, who are refusing to negotiate a fair union contract with workers and UNITE HERE Local 30 representatives. IATSE Local 122, the Party for Socialism and Liberation and other unions and organizations attended in solidarity.

Hotel workers holding and reading Jose Cortes for Congress pamphlets and copies of Liberation Newspaper. Liberation photo

The picket was organized by UNITE HERE Local 30, the union which Town & Country workers voted to join. UNITE HERE is fighting to establish a $23 per hour rate for San Diego hotel workers.

Town & Country offered workers a meager 60 cent annual raise at the negotiating table. Housekeeping room attendant Sara Isidor Lopez is one of many workers earning $16 hourly who are barely scraping by. “I have been working there for 16 years … I can barely afford rent or food … I live with a roommate to be able to afford a home,” she shared in a video that UNITE HERE Local 30 released.

At the demonstration on June 3, UNITE HERE Local 30 members donned shirts reading “one job should be enough.” English and Spanish chants rang throughout the Town & Country campus. Hotel and restaurant guests heard loud and clear chants such as “Aquí estamos, y no nos vamos!” (Translation: “We are here and we aren’t leaving”) and “Si se puede!” (“Yes we can!”).

Liberation News spoke with Jose Luis Monroy, a UNITE HERE Local 30 organizer. He explained, “The company has made some proposals that are just plain offensive. There are some people that have been working here for 44 years and never got a raise!”

Town & Country workers, UNITE HERE Local 30 members and IATSE Local 122 organizers marching together. Liberation photo

He continued, “The company is just not willing to negotiate with us anymore … They come back with five cent [hourly pay] increases and that’s just not enough.”

The idea of Town & Country workers being considered “essential” during the pandemic was frequently emphasized on the signs and in speeches. Like many labor struggles across the United States, the one at Town & Country is no doubt fueled by how the capitalist economy treated workers during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic as well as the growing resurgence of union consciousness. Town & Country workers and others across the country are heroically fighting to improve their workplaces and communities.

There was a large contingent of IATSE Local 122 members at the picket. The same kinds of mobilizations and community solidarity that helped Encore workers win a union contract and join IATSE Local 122 are needed for Town & Country workers to win their demands for dignity, respect and a living wage. One job should be enough!

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