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Hotel housekeepers say they were fired after complaints about unfair conditions [Updated]

Five former housekeepers at the Hilton Long Beach have said they were fired after they complained to human resources about working conditions.

Maria Medina, 40, said she and two other housekeepers met with human resources managers earlier this month to complain about erratic scheduling and other working conditions. The three and two others, all of whom were told they worked for a subcontractor, were fired two days later, Medina said.

The group is demanding to be reinstated into full-time, permanent positions at the hotel. Unite Here Local 11, which has been working to organize housekeepers at the hotel for two years, have a Wednesday afternoon news conference scheduled.

Since being fired, the employees said they have spoken with state investigators about what they called unfair conditions of employment.

Medina said she was interviewed and hired at the hotel and only later learned she would be paid by a subcontractor. Over the four years she worked at the hotel, her checks never showed tax deductions and she was never offered health benefits, paid time off or other benefits enjoyed by housekeepers who worked directly for the hotel, she said.

The other employees, all of whom had worked at the hotel for at least two years, had similar stories, said Leigh Shelton, spokeswoman for Unite Here.

"There needs to be some kind of reform," Medina said. "Housekeeping work is taxing. It slowly weighs on your body ... If there are going to be [subcontracting] agencies they should at least be fair. They should at least be watched closely by the government."

A spokesperson for the hotel could not be immediately reached for comment.

[Updated, 5:32 p.m.: Late Wednesday afternoon, Ken Melinie, director of human resources for the Hilton Long Beach, said the five housekeepers "are employed by an outside agency. We’ve not terminated any people here. We did end a contract with an agency we were working with.”

Meline, who described the workers as “outstanding, hardworking individuals,” said he did meet with them to hear their complaints about schedules as a courtesy, even though they did not work directly for the hotel. He told them they would be welcome to apply directly for open positions after the agency’s contract was terminated.

“I’m kind of disappointed that none of them applied. But that offer certainly still stands,” he said.

Meline said the hotel ensures that all workers, including those who work for contracted agencies, are paid properly -- including “all the appropriate taxes and any kind of overtime.]

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-- Paloma Esquivel

 
Comments () | Archives (15)

Fired? Good. If you don't like the job, then QUIT. And find another more to your liking OR start YOUR OWN HOTEL.

Why do you think that people who are treated unfairly by their employers shouldn't have the right to complain without fear of reprisal? This isn't Dickensian England, this is America. There are laws.

You can pretty much guarantee they are illegal, which is why they work for a "sub-contractor", otherwise they would be hired directly by Hilton like every other employee. Funny how they cry and whine about their treatment, yet I would bet a pretty pound that they are here illegally, which in my opinion gives them ZERO rights to work at all.

Blumeanie, people do have the right to certain conditions at work. Non-erratic scheduling isn't one of them. If they don't like the fact that their schedules are difficult to predict, then work elsewhere. If you don't like the system, change it. If you can't, then go create your own system. In other words: go start your own company if you don't like the one you worked for.

I've worked as a manager for 5 different hotels and rarely was there a case where the housekeepers were here legally, in fact at one hotel we had to terminate all 28 housekeepers because they were not citizens. Every single one of them came back to work with different social security numbers attached to brand new names. Could it be that these housekeepers could not pay taxes because they didn't have a social security number? If they were all part time, they would not be offered health care benefits or paid time off. To be honest, I don't think this is the entire story.

I highly doubt they are illegal, if they were, they wouldn't be talking to the press for fear they would be deported.

She worked as a subcontractor for four years. During that FOUR years, she knew that she was not having tax deductions taken out of her check and that she did not have any benefits, like the housekeepers that worked directly for the hotel.

Now...tell me what legal citizen would work under those type of conditions for FOUR years. NONE. These people just get bolder every day. Why? Because our U.S. government lets them.

Or maybe during the recession, that's how they get away with cutting costs, by not offering benefits of any kind. If there was no offer of benefits in the beginning then they agreed to that when they started working without asking. As soon as there was a request for leave and not paid, and you THOUGHT you had benefits, THERES YOUR FLAG TO CALL FAIR LABOR BOARD. If you went along with it for 2 years, it looks all the more like you agreed to it. But it is a shaft when you ask about why not and you get fired. They should get sick/vacation leave for each year they worked there if that's what they were told from the beginning.

Whether they are working illegally or not, they were hired by someone, who should legally abide by the law. If you look up the law, ANY WORKER IN THE U.S. HAS RIGHTS.

that is why employers go through agency!!! have you declared the dollar bills we put in the room as tips????? ungrateful people like you are destroying America! why don't you go back and demand Mexican government to provide jobs to you all!!!

Typical SEIU/Unite Here tactic> Same story every time. When they cant get enough workers to join they invent/overstate issues with some of the disgruntled ones and rely on the state to force the hotel to unionize for their "protection", basically making them slaves to the union.

@KrissyinLA

Don't you think if they were illegal they wouldn't be stirring up all this media attention over working conditions? Think about it before you put your ignorance on display.

Call Keith Fink and plan your retirement.


If their illegal they have no right to work here at all, which is what subcontractor suggests.Blumeanie is right! Its about time our goverment started honering our laws.

Housekeepers are some of the worst treated workers in the service industry. Companies like HEI prey on the fact so many people in california are desperate for work. its clear from this company's other exploits that it has no problems breaking the law.
I'm glad these brave women are standing up against these pigs.


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