Univision: Para Proteger a las Mujeres, by Pablo Gaviria

Un recordatorio que una medida que quiere apoyar a las mucamas de Seattle va a estar en el tarjetón.

The Stranger: Yes on City of Seattle Initiative 124, by the Stranger Election Control Board

But the benefits here far outweigh the risks and hotel workers deserve these protections. Vote yes.

La Raza del Noroeste: Todos somos uno “housekeeper”, by Sandra Maquedo

Cuando cierta información llega a nuestras manos, duele saber que aún hay tantas injusticias y abusos en contra de más mujeres aún en pleno siglo XXI, aún en este país y tristemente aun aquí en nuestra ciudad. Cada día miles de personas salen de casa dispuestas a dar lo que sea necesario para poder traer el sustento a casa, en cualquier área donde encontremos trabajo, allí estamos los migrantes, especialmente haciendo esos trabajos pesados que no cualquiera se atreve a realizar debido principalmente al pago tan bajo que se recibe a cambio.

KUOW: Seattle hotel workers seek protection with Initiative 124, by Carolyn Adolph

An initiative before voters in Seattle this November would put a panic button in every hotel worker’s hand. It’s one of a series of protections for a potentially vulnerable group of workers. They do heavy work, often alone. They are mostly women, and many of them are immigrants learning English, making them a voice that can be hard to hear.

King 5: Hotel workers speak out on sexual harassment, support I-124, by John Langeler

“You don’t know who you’re dealing with when you open that door,” said hotel housekeeper Ida Calderon, who works in SeaTac, “They could be as nice as pie on the phone, but you just can’t tell.” Calderon recalled one customer exposing himself to her as she delivered breakfast. “I still had to put down my order,” she said, “So I was really nice to him and was scared.  ‘Am I going to make it back out of this room?'”

Crosscut: Hotel workers battle sexual harassment and heavy workloads, by Anna Minard

Cleaning hotel rooms is a lot of work. It means lifting hundreds of pounds of clean and dirty linens and raising up heavy mattresses dozens of times over the course of a shift. Lifting, bending, scrubbing, dusting, hauling trash, and all the other tasks behind a fresh clean hotel room can take a toll on your body — including causing repetitive-stress injuries. And that’s just the physical labor. “I love my job. I like to take care of people,” says Ida Calderon, who works in room service in a local hotel. But that doesn’t mean she hasn’t been put in uncomfortable situations at work.

Seattle Times: Panic buttons, health insurance for Seattle hotel workers up for vote in fall, by Daniel Beekman

Seattle voters will decide whether hotel workers such as housekeepers should be guaranteed panic buttons, help with health insurance and other benefits under city law. The City Council on Monday voted unanimously to put Initiative 124 on the November ballot. Backed by hotel-workers union UNITE HERE! Local 8, it qualified earlier this month after campaigners collected more than 20,000 signatures. The initiative’s provisions fall into several categories, including protecting hotel workers from violent assault and sexual harassment, protecting them from injuries, improving their access to medical care and preventing disruptions in the hotel industry.

Seattle Weekly: Hotel Safety Summit Packs Room, Expects Win on I-124, by Sara Bernard

I-124 would help flip the script on what is a much more difficult job than anyone who doesn’t do it might imagine. Hotel workers have extremely high rates of workplace injury, low rates of employer-provided health insurance, and, anecdotally, at least, constant experiences with inappropriate advances (or worse) from hotel guests. One key aspect of I-124, making sure that all hotel workers across Seattle have panic buttons in case of harassment or assault—something that exists for nearly all major hotels in New York City following the high-profile sexual assault of a housekeeper by former IMF head Dominique Strauss-Kahn—has the support of 95 percent of Seattle’s hotel housekeepers, according to a survey conducted by Unite Here Local 8 lead organizer Sarah Warren.

Seattlish: I-124 is going on the November ballot!

The initiative essentially seeks to ensure that all hotel workers—a population that is disproportionately made up of women of color—receive benefits, pay, and protections against sexual harassment which are standard in the city’s few unionized hotels. Some of the protections, including the ability to bring a cell phone into a room they’re cleaning and panic buttons in the event of an attack, are also commonplace in several other cities. Councilmember Lorena González, who herself used to work in a hotel and then went on to defend hotel workers as a labor attorney, said she has seen women who were sexually harassed or assaulted on the job who were “deflated” because they know that they’d be fired if they reported the attack.

Univision: News Feature, by Pablo Gaviria

No es la primera vez que escuchamos historias de huéspedes de hotel desnudos cuando la empleada de la limpieza entra al cuarto. Usted puede votar sí o no a una medida que proveería botones de pánico para las camareras en la ciudad de Seattle.

International Examiner: I-124 would protect hotel workers against harassment and discrimination

Initiative 124, which could appear on Seattle’s ballot this November, would protect Seattle’s hotel housekeepers from sexual harassment, discrimination and inhumane workloads. It would also improve access to affordable healthcare and provide basic job security for employees of large hotels.  Nearly 90 percent of hotel workers are women, and a large majority of those are immigrants and people of color.

Seattle Weekly: The Fight to Bring Hotel Housekeepers Out of the Shadows, by Sarah Bernard

Unite Here Local 8, the regional chapter of a national union that represents about 5,000 hospitality workers across Washington and Oregon—including Magtuba—thinks there should be a whole lot more than a corkscrew between her and sexual assault. The group recently launched a signature campaign for Initiative 124, a citywide ballot measure that would require strict protections against harassment and assault of hotel workers and would, if passed, ensure that some of the protections the union has already negotiated for its members extend to all Seattle hotels, including better access to health care, workload limitations, and job security. It’s the latest battle in the ongoing war for labor rights in Seattle—the birthplace of many recent worker-protection firsts, including the $15 minimum wage and the right for Uber and other taxi drivers to unionize.

The Stranger Slog: Union-Backed Initiative Would Require New Sexual Harassment Protections for Hotel Housekeepers, by Heidi Groover

While hotel-specific research is limited, advocates, anecdotes, and common sense say women working alone in hotel rooms are vulnerable to harassment and assault. After Dominique Strauss-Kahn, the former head of the International Monetary Fund, was accused of sexually assaulting a New York hotel housekeeper, another housekeeper told the New York Times a guest once grabbed her and tried to kiss her. One retired housekeeper told the Times she carried a can opener to protect herself after a guest propositioned her; another said at least five guests had exposed themselves to her during her 17 years as a housekeeper.

KOMO 4 News: Seattle Hotel Workers Push for Sexual Harassment Protections, by Joel Moreno

Seattle’s top hotels offer guests the finest in luxury and hospitality. However, some women who work in the industry believe there is a constant threat of sexual harassment. “I’m scared because it’s not safe,” said one long-time Seattle hotel employee who asked not to be identified. She said she has had multiple run-ins with men who crossed the line while she was on the job. In one instance, she went alone on a room service call. “He opened the door and he is naked,” she said.

Seattle Channel: City Inside/Out: Initiative 124 (Hotel Workers) Debate, by Brian Callanan

Over half the hotel housekeepers surveyed in a Seattle poll say they’ve been sexually harassed on the job. Are panic buttons the solution? And should the accused guests be banned from those hotels? Initiative 124 would mandate hotel safety standards, regulate the workload of housekeepers and increase their access to healthcare. How is the hotel industry responding? Hear both sides of the issue.

The Seattle Times: Panic button for hotel cleaners part of Seattle’s I-124 to protect, help housekeepers, by Daniel Beekman. 

Such incidents may be more common for room-service workers like Ida Calderon. The 46-year-old Local 8 member works in SeaTac but has been campaigning for I-124. Calderon says she once had a guest call down to request 14 shots of vodka and her in a French-maid outfit. She’s been confronted by a naked male guest in his room before. “It’s always in the back of your mind,” Calderon said. “It’s something we (workers) always discuss. ‘I’m going to go for his eyes.’ ‘I’m going for his unmentionables.’ ”

Seattle Weekly: Yes on I-124, by the SW Editorial Board

Hotel housekeeping is grueling work. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, hotel workers have among the highest rates of on-the-job injury of any group of workers. In Washington, they are among the least likely of all full-time workers to receive health insurance through their employers. Hotel housekeepers and room servers are also mostly women—the majority of them immigrant women of color—and as we’ve reported, the anecdotal rates of sexual harassment on the job are also horrific (“Hotel Hell,” June 15). Given all this, it only makes sense to support a citywide initiative launched by a local hospitality union that’s designed to address the above concerns.

KOMO: Seattle Voters Guide, by Suzanne Phan 

The Fifth Estate: Episode 2, by Hanna Brooks Olsen and Marcus Harrison Green

This week, Hanna Brooks Olsen and Marcus Harrison Green talk about Nate Parker, I-124, Kim Wyman’s Very Bad campaign, Tim Burgess’s Pretty Bad homelessness letter, and what we’re looking forward to next week.

Seattlish: Hotels are spending a lot of money to not protect workers

A good rule of thumb? If powerful industry groups are dumping large amounts of cash into defeating a campaign that would actively help people—particularly women of color—it’s probably something you should vote in favor of.

Crosscut: Hotel worker protections would be a win for women’s rights, by Nicole Grant and Melody Rauen

We can prevent sexual harassment and assault in hotels. But we need more tools. We need new tools. I-124 puts them directly in the hands of housekeepers, making hotels a safer place for everyone. We also need leadership. It’s disappointing that this leadership isn’t coming from the AH&LA or from Seattle hoteliers. But it is inspiring that it is coming from local Seattle hotel workers and from a broad coalition of supporters who understand that, as City Councilmember Lorena Gonzalez put it, protecting women is a “no-brainer.” It’s time. We can lead. We can vote. We can protect women. On November 8, vote Yes on 124.

KPLU: Hotels and Union Butt Heads Over Ballot Initiative to Protect Seattle Housekeepers, by Simone Alicea

Sarah Warren is the vice president for UNITE HERE Local 8, the hospitality union that sponsored the initiative. She said the hotel industry has a real problem with sexual harassment. Housekeepers find themselves in situations, “where you’ve got women working alone in men’s guest rooms,” she said.  “Men who usually have a fair amount of money and privilege to be able to stay in those rooms, and there are serious safety concerns about being harassed.”

The Stranger Slog: Mayor Murray Joins the Fight to Protect Hotel Workers from Sexual Harassment, by Heidi Groover

Initiative 124 would require panic buttons and other precautions for employees who work alone in guest rooms or experience sexual harassment or assault on the job at large hotels. It would also require hotels in the city to protect workers’ jobs when hotels are sold to new owners, limit housekeepers’ workloads, and help pay for workers’ healthcare. Unite Here Local 8, which represents workers in the hotel and service industry, proposed the initiative and is single-handedly funding the campaign. Now, Mayor Ed Murray is getting on board and the city council is likely to join him. This week, Murray sent the city council a resolution supporting the initiative.

Puget Sound Business Journal: Seattle voters to decide whether to protect hotel maids, by Marc Stiles

“This one is a no-brainer to me,” said Councilmember M. Lorena Gonzalez, who worked in a hotel to pay for college. As an attorney, she dedicated her career to the victims of sexual assault and harassment. “I (heard) firsthand in our own city stories of dozens of women who had come to my office completely deflated, shattered and frankly without hope because what happened to them after they had the courage to stand up against that type of awful workplace behavior was that they were fired,” Gonzalez said.

Reveal: Why cleaning a hotel room makes you a target for sexual harassment, by Bernice Yeung

Nevertheless, various workers’ organizations and local chapters of UNITE HERE are working together to push for local laws in at least three cities across the country. In Long Beach, Seattle and Chicago, workers are calling, in part, for hotel companies to track complaints against guests and for a ban on those who sexually harass workers. Advocates for these new local laws also want workers to have access to wearable panic buttons. New York City cleaners began using them after a Sofitel New York Hotel worker claimed in 2011 that the French dignitary Dominique Strauss-Kahn had sexually assaulted her in his room. (The charges against Strauss-Kahn were eventually dropped.)

The Stranger Slog: Seattle’s Hotel Workers Tell Stories of Pain and Sexual Harassment, by Ana Sofia Knauf

“There is no part of my body that doesn’t hurt,” said Feliza Ryland, another of the hotel worker panelists who works at the Edgewater Hotel. Ryland, who is also from Guatemala, said that having to quickly clean up messy rooms, sometimes in less than 30 minutes, adds a lot of additional stress. All of the panelists said the labor is physically demanding. Ermalyn Magtuba, a Filipina immigrant who works at the Seattle Hilton, said that she has had countless inappropriate interactions with a number of male guests, including having male guests answer their doors naked or drop their towels in front of her.

Seattle Weekly: Hotel Workers Ballot Initiative Got Its Signatures, by Sara Bernard

The Seattle ballot inititiative designed to ensure hotel workers protections against workplace injury and sexual harassment— Initiative 124, launched by hospitality union Unite Here Local 8 — turned in more than enough signatures to King County at 4 p.m. on Friday to qualify for the November ballot. The minimum required number of signatures is just over 20,000; I-124 supporters turned in nearly 32,000.

Seattlish: The Important Seattle Initiative That You May Not Have Heard About

Sexual harassment of hotel employees—specifically room attendants—is rampant; it’s so common that a 2015 study found it was basically normalized.  And while some hotels take a few steps to protect workers with small steps (like letting staffers keep their phones on them as they attend to rooms), most hotels do not. Additionally, hotel staffers—again, particularly room attendants—also suffer from on-the-job injuries, due in large part to excessive workloads, are often given terrible (and unaffordable) options for health care, and have next to no job security in the event that a hotel is bought or sold.