Some of you may have stayed at hotels over the summer vacation, or at other times, hockey tournaments, shopping trips, weekend getaways. Some of those hotels will offer you a 'great deal'. Opt out of the daily cleaning programme if you're staying more than one night and get a $5 credit!! Or bonus points for their rewards programme. It may seem like a good idea at the time but as http://thetyee.ca/News/2010/09/24/SkipHotelCleaning/ points out, it may not be such a good deal, especially as far as labour is concerned. It's an older article but it explains the issue very well and the problem still exists.
The program the union objects to is Westin's "Green Card" option, which allows guests to place a card on the door of their room or suite indicating that the cleaning staff can skip the usual clean up that day. Hotel management see this optional program, for which guests are rewarded with a $5.00 food and beverage voucher each time they pass on having their room cleaned, as good for the environment, but the union disagrees.
"Although marketed as a 'green program,' it was introduced in part to achieve productivity savings for the company and to increase guests' food and beverage expenditures," says a press release from Local 40.
"Housekeepers report that after several days of guests using the vouchers, the rooms can take two to three times longer to clean, requiring more water, electricity and cleaning chemicals. As the number of guests using the vouchers increases on a given day, so does the number of housekeepers cut from the day's schedule."
One of the workers on the picket line told The Tyee that for every 15 rooms that take advantage of the "Green Card" option, a hotel employee loses a shift.
I usually just put that promotion card in the recycling bin, indicating to the worker that they have my support and I value their job and the work that they do. Consider doing that as well the next time you see one of those cards.
One good thing about hotels are those little bottles of shampoo and conditioner that they put in the bathrooms. I volunteer on the Busby Outreach van that supports homeless and the disadvantaged in the Barrie area. We often have requests for soap and shampoo and those tiny little bottles are just the right size. If you have nowhere to store a more economical big bottle, those little bottles are enough for a wash or two and are easier to keep in a backpack (along with your other worldly belongings).
Sometimes, as a union we will take those toiletries to a local shelter for the same reason. It's a little thing but can make a big difference. If you have a stockpile of those little bottles at home, you can bring them to our District office, unit 6-51 King St. in Barrie and we will see that they get to someone who needs them.
Unions don't just improve the lives of their members, the work unions do reaches out into communities for the greater good of all.
The view from my desk, as Teacher Bargaining Unit President for D17 Simcoe