Friday, February 20, 2015

Santa Cruz Dream Inn Workers Go on Strike

Workers at the Santa Cruz Dream Inn began a two-day strike today, prompting the hotel to close its restaurant, Aquarius. Cooks, Waiters, Bartenders, Bell Persons, Front Desk Clerks, Room Cleaners, Maintenance Workers, and all other employees are refusing to work, and picket lines are scheduled for the front of the hotel from 6am-10pm for both days of the strike. Workers approved the action after months of failed contract negotiations with owners, who have been expecting them to accept a three-year wage freeze.

This afternoon, workers carried signs in front of the hotel with messages such as "Dream in Workers Cannot Afford 3 Years Wage Freeze," "Workers Love Their Jobs and Their Community. A Fair Wage Will Help to Live Here," and "Dream Inn Workers Ask for A Fair Contract Now!"

One of the many march chants workers called out in unison today as they walked the picket line was, "Dream Inn, Rich and Rude, We Don't Like Your Attitude!"

Dream Inn's management has taken over work responsibilities at the hotel, and a flyer handed out by workers is encouraging customers to demand a refund.

"Tell management you expect workers and customers to be treated better," the flyer stated.

Workers at the Santa Cruz Dream Inn are members of Unite Here! Local 483, the labor union that has represented hotel, restaurant, and other service workers in the Monterey Bay since 1937.

Workers are presently without a contract and have been negotiating with the hotel since mid-2014. Owners have proposed workers take a three-year wage freeze followed by 1% and 2% raises in the fourth and fifth years. Monthly pickets of the hotel began in September, and in mid-January, 96% of workers voted to go on strike. The union says the Dream Inn's management has not met with them since that time or made any effort to try and reach an agreement.

The union has said that because business is "booming" at the hotel, with summer-time reservations now being made for some rooms costing over $500 and $600, the Dream Inn should be "ashamed" of their demand.

The picket line is scheduled to occur until 10pm tonight, and from 6am to 10pm on Saturday, February 21.

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