SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS) — Spring Break may mean sun and surf but for those in the service industry, particularly hotel workers, it can be the worst time of the year.
Between the possibly intoxicated guests and the heavy workload, housekeepers say it can be a nightmare.
Michelle Chen researched and wrote an article for Slate Magazine based on the Miami hotel industry.
“Even if something does happen to them, where they do have a bad encounter with the customer, there’s little recourse they have in terms of bringing it to the boss, filing a grievance or anything like that. And, often the customer’s long gone, so there’s really no accountability, and frankly it’s not unusual for the management to just sort of turn a blind eye to that, or try to sweep it under the rug,” Chen said.
She says that when hotels are busy, some hotels will try to pay hotel maids by the room, and not by the hour, “And kind of having their wages calculated based on piece-work, kind of like an old sweatshop model of doing things. And that makes them prioritize volume over things like a manageable, healthy pace of work,” Chen said.
That unhealthy workload can end with workers getting injured on the job.
“Throwing their back out when lifting a 100-pound mattress; you know hauling around huge linens,” Chen said.
Chen suggests travelers level the playing field by staying at hotels that offer maids livable wages, and leaving a tip when checking out.