Working Families Rally for Fair Treatment in the Hospitality Field

Man holds his arms out by Nate Jackson

When working families see injustice, they don’t shut up; they stand up.

Working families in the service and hospitality industries gathered outside one of the largest hotels in the shadow of SeaTac International Airport on a hot August day last week. Working Washington joined up with the workers because we were all there to right a wrong.

Many of the hotels in the area are slashing hours, cutting benefits and ignoring the workers’ requests for a fair shake for the work they are doing. We tried speaking with them about the rights to fair wages that help us educate our children and put food on the table. However, the CEOs weren’t listening--so we got louder.

Waving signs and hands to passing, honking cars, we sent a strong message saying “We want a fair chance!”  A large crowd rallied in the heart of SeaTac to show that we are not going to take unfair treatment anymore.  We were happy, fired up and excited when news media such as the highly respected Robert Mak from King Five’s Up Front showed up with a camera man in tow to film the gathering.

Other neighbors and friends joined in to show their support, donning t-shirts, grabbing signs and getting in step to show that they care about families who work hard in one of the toughest industries around. At one moment, even Congressmen Dennis Kucinich of Ohio joined us. He came out from his hotel, grabbed a sign and marched in solidarity for more than an hour.

Working people are starting to get louder. Community members are not going to take the unfairness that is in plain view. When greedy CEOs and big businesses make record profits while cutting hours, benefits and jobs, we recognize that’s not how it is supposed to be.

We are showing up to rallies in droves to support our unemployed and underemployed friends and family. We see that their fight for a fair economy and a piece of the American Dream is our fight, too. The lines of division are fading as we all recognize that we must be in this fight together and we must win.

Greedy corporations and rich CEOs are starting to hear us. Our mantra is clear: no longer can they continue with a “business as usual” approach collecting tax breaks while the middle class suffers. We are joining forces and telling them they need to reinvest in good American jobs right now.  We are just getting started and they can hear us.