Thousands of housekeepers, cooks and other workers at Marriott-affiliated hotels went on strike in San Francisco and San Jose Thursday after months of negotiations for a wage increase.

Unite Here Local 2 union spokesman Ted Waechter says about 2,500 Marriott hotel workers were picketing outside at least seven hotels in downtown San Francisco, the heart of the city’s tourist area. The hotels include the Ritz-Carlton, the Palace Hotel, the W Hotel and the Marriott Marquis.

The strike comes at the height of the city’s busy convention season that brings tens of thousands of people to the city, but the company said its hotels would continue operating normally. Nearly 99 percent of the union’s members authorized a strike last month.

Waechter said many union members have to work at least a second job to make ends meet. Workers are also seeking greater protection from harassment from guests.

Maryland-based Marriott says its proposal matches the “economic terms” of the last contract and does not propose any benefit changes.

“During the strike our hotels are open, and we stand ready to provide excellent service to our guests,” the company said in a statement. “While we respect our associates’ rights to participate in this work stoppage, we also will welcome any associate who chooses to continue to work.”

Hotel workers said walked out at seven Marriott hotels in Boston on Wednesday in what union organizers said was that city’s first hotel union strike. The union says similar strikes are being considered in San Diego, Detroit, Seattle, Oakland and Honolulu.

Marriott’s portfolio includes over 6,700 hotels in 130 countries, spanning 30 brands. Marriott said it became the world’s largest hotel company after its 2016 acquisition of Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, the San Francisco Chronicle reported.

Source: The Associated Press

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