Hotel workers strike, seek new settlement

Hotel workers are returning to their jobs Friday morning at the Palace Hotel, but negotiations are still stalled between the union and hotel management across San Francisco.
 
While the companies that own San Francisco's luxury hotels call for the union to take into account the economic downturn, union members assert that hotel management is using the economy as an excuse to cut living standards for employees, who make an average salary of $30,000 a year.
 
Unite Here! Local 2 has been bargaining with dozens of hotels in an attempt to renegotiate contracts that expired in August. In October, more than 2,000 union members voted to authorize strikes against 31 San Francisco hotels.
 
A three-day strike at the Grand Hyatt in the first week of November sent a signal of escalating unrest. The union continues to call for a boycott of the Grand Hyatt. USA Today picked up on the story, describing guests greeted by picketers with bullhorns.
 
Hyatt is flush with cash after a public stock offering of nearly $1 billion, and the chain netted $3.8 billion in revenue last year,  though the company is dogged by rumors of disputes within the Pritzker family, which controls it.
 
The union maintains that the companies it is negotiating with, including Hyatt and Starwood Hotels and Resorts, which owns the Palace and the Westin St. Francis, are in good enough fiscal health to meet its requirements for a settlement.