Daily room cleaning posts and news

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Reality is next to imagination!

This opinion piece was written by Hilton Hawaiian Village housekeeper, Nely Reinante. If you would like to write for Local 5, contact us!

I was recalled back at work as a housekeeper at the Hilton Hawaiian Village on the third week of June 2021. Since coming back to work, I have had plenty of checkout rooms to clean and my energy is drained at the end of the day. I am having shortness of breath and trouble sleeping. I have constant headaches and my hands are in pain, so I need to take pain relievers several times of the day.

Hilton is only doing daily room cleaning upon request. Before I returned to work, I was imagining the filthy rooms not being cleaned every day. Now that I got recalled back at work, that became a reality! I witnessed with my own two eyes and my own body experienced the overwork caused by no daily room cleaning. The struggle is real!

Some bathtubs are black. Some toilets are brown. Instead of doing just a couple of strokes to clean, I need to put extra effort to scrub them. My work has tripled compared to before the pandemic. Dust and sand are piling up. You can’t vacuum fast because the vacuum can’t suck the piled-up sand at once. Sometimes I have to bring the linen cart all the way to the bathroom to collect the very heavy, wet towels piled up. Some are dripping. It’s terrible! Not to mention the overflowing trash cans! It’s a pretty nasty smell.

On my work days, my energy is all spent at work. No more is left for my home and family. It is so sad! I can no longer massage my husband, who is also tired at work. Before, we would take turns massaging each other. Now, I am the only one getting pampered. Even my 9-year-old daughter is massaging me, too. I feel so bad because I am supposed to be the one pampering her because of her health concerns, not the other way around. I wonder, is this how hard the impact is of not having daily room cleaning?

I am happy and grateful that I am back to work, but sad at the same time. It is so frustrating because if only there is daily room cleaning, these issues could be avoided. I have been working in the hospitality industry for more than a decade. I know what to expect with guest room conditions, especially if it is occupied by groups of guests with families.

It’s very clear that management is taking advantage of the pandemic and taking workers for granted! We aren’t given any consideration in the decisions they are making. If we, the Union, hadn’t taken any action, eliminating daily room cleaning would become the new standard in the hospitality industry. If this happens, it will leave behind many housekeepers who will be permanently laid off. Working housekeepers will have extra workload, pain, and agony. This will be an economic pain for the community and the government.

Summer is over: the peak season of the year! And many housekeepers like me have been put back on on-call status. I haven’t been back to work yet since August 24. We have to live with uncertainties again, knowing there is no assurance of our job security. If there is daily room cleaning, more workers will be called to work.

Nothing really is perfect in this world. It is like you have to choose: work to death, or starve to death? Do we really need to choose? Can’t we just work in a fair working environment, and everybody will have peace and harmony? Workers are motivated to go to work for our families, our employer, and our coworkers. Our workplace is our second home, and we are one big ohana, wherein nobody should be left behind. Bringing back daily room cleaning would help us take care of ourselves, our guests, and our coworkers.

Housekeepers demand daily room cleaning for Housekeeping Appreciation Week

It’s Housekeeping Appreciation Week! Local 5 housekeepers are celebrating by taking their breaks and calling on management to bring back daily room cleaning. Without daily room cleaning, fewer housekeepers are being called back to work. Thousands of jobs could be saved by reinstating daily room cleaning.

The few who are working are struggling with the workload and even skipping their breaks to finish their rooms. At some hotels, housekeepers placed band-aids on the parts of their body that they are feeling pain due to the increased difficulty of their jobs due to the elimination of daily room cleaning.

Housekeepers call on hotels to bring back daily room cleaning

Press release for September 10, 2021

Media Contact:

Bryant de Venecia

Cell Phone: (808) 546-0024

[email protected]

Housekeepers call on hotels to bring back daily room cleaning

(Honolulu) – Hotel housekeepers call on their employers to back daily room cleaning and other guest services so that workers can get back to work and guests can have a safe, quality vacation experience. Dozens of housekeepers passed out leaflets to hotel guests along Waikiki Beach, encouraging them to request daily room cleaning.

As hotel occupancies plummets as low as 38% and PEUC unemployment benefits expire, hotel housekeepers are worried about being furloughed. Many housekeepers haven’t been called back at all since March 2020. Thousands of jobs could be saved by reinstating daily room cleaning.

Ending daily room cleaning could eliminate 39% of all U.S. hotel housekeeping jobs and cost housekeepers—overwhelmingly women of color–$4.8 billion in annual lost wages.

Judith Ramirez, a housekeeper from Sheraton Waikiki shared, “We are all here, workers across departments from hotels all over Oahu, coming together to call on the hotels to bring back daily room cleaning. We’re out here leafleting, asking for support from the community and the travelers because eliminating daily housekeeping service hurts everyone. It’s bad for both the workers and the guests.”

Since housekeeping services turned into an opt-in only service, housekeepers are finding hotel room more dirty and harder to clean. Nely Reinante, a housekeeper at Hilton Hawaiian Village said, “It used to take 45 minutes to clean a check out room; now we do it for more than an hour. When I come home after my shift, my body is so sore that I just lay down for hours. I don’t have time for my family anymore because all my energy gets depleted from work, cleaning all these dirty rooms.”

Hotel workers will continue to urge state legislators and employers to do more to bring back guest services so that hospitality workers can get back to work safely. Other municipalities like San Francisco are mandating daily room cleaning at hotels.

Local 5 represents approximately 12,000 workers throughout Hawaii who work in the hospitality, health care and food service industries and is an affiliate of UNITE HERE, an international union that represents over 250,000 workers throughout the U.S. and Canada. For more information, visit www.unitehere5.org.

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Hotel housekeepers to leaflet Waikiki beach encouraging daily room cleaning

Media Advisory for September 9, 2021

Media Contact:

Bryant de Venecia

Cell Phone: (808) 546-0024

[email protected]

Hotel housekeepers to leaflet Waikiki beach encouraging daily room cleaning

Eliminating daily room cleaning means fewer housekeepers are brought back to work and tougher workloads for remaining housekeepers

WHAT: Hotel housekeepers pass out leaflets to hotel guests along Waikiki Beach to encourage them to request daily room cleaning

WHERE: Waikiki Beach, near the Duke Kahanamoku statue (near Kalakaua Ave. and Uluniu Ave.)

WHEN: Friday, September 10, 2021 (4:30pm – 5:30pm)

WHO: Dozens of UNITE HERE Local 5 hotel workers wearing red shirts and masks, socially distanced and passing out leaflets to hotel guests at the beach

WHY: Since many Hawaii hotels reopened in October 2020, the hotel industry has been cutting guest services so that fewer workers return to work. Daily room cleaning is an example of one guest service that has been eliminated, resulting in hundreds of Local 5 housekeepers not returning to work. Housekeepers who have returned to work are suffering from fatigue and stress because it is more difficult to clean a room that hasn’t been cleaned for several days, sometimes weeks.

As COVID cases increase and hotel occupancy plummets, housekeepers will be passing out leaflets to hotel guests along Waikiki Beach to encourage them to request daily room cleaning.

They also continue to urge state legislators and employers to do more to bring back guest services so that hospitality workers can get back to work safely. Other municipalities like San Francisco are mandating daily room cleaning at hotels.

In August, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) issued a complaint and notice of hearing against Hilton Hawaiian Village based on an unfair labor practice charge filed by UNITE HERE Local 5, alleging that the hotel  refused to provide the Union with documents backing up the hotels’ claim that eliminating daily room cleaning was partially due to guest preference.

Hotel guests have expressed on local and international news that they were “caught off guard by the lack of daily room cleaning” and frustrated that they have to do their own cleaning.

Local 5 represents approximately 12,000 workers throughout Hawaii who work in the hospitality, health care and food service industries and is an affiliate of UNITE HERE, an international union that represents over 250,000 workers throughout the U.S. and Canada. For more information, visit www.unitehere5.org.

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Hotel Workers Union Concerned About Job Cuts and Tourism Slowdown

Travel bookings on the other side of this Labor Day holiday are said to be softening. September and October traditionally tend to be slower times in the visitor industry. And with COVID cases in the islands soaring, it is cause for concern for our economic recovery. Unite Here! Local Five is the union that represents a majority of hotel workers in Waikīkī and Kaiser Permanente. The Conversation spoke with Eric Gill, the union’s business manager, to discuss cut jobs and member concerns. Its members rallied over the Labor Day weekend. Its Kaiser Permanente members are currently negotiating a new working contract. Its current contract runs out at the end of September.

Reduced hours, layoffs and furloughs resume in Hawaii tourism as federal safety net disappears

A drop in visitor arrivals to Hawaii from the spread of the delta variant and COVID-19 containment measures is creating a new round of tourism sector layoffs, furloughs and reduced hours just as federal unemployment aid is ending. (read more)