FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Tuesday, November 7, 2023
Contact: Ted Waechter [email protected]
San Francisco Hotel Workers Vote Overwhelmingly to Strike After Outsourced Cafeteria Food Makes Workers Sick
96.4% Vote Means BEI Hotel Workers Could Launch Unfair Labor Practice Strike
San Francisco, Calif. — Workers at the BEI Hotel San Francisco have voted by 96.4% to authorize a strike after years of negotiations with the UNITE HERE Local 2 union and what the union claims is unilateral outsourcing of food and beverage operations. The union says that workers have suffered diarrhea, stomach pain, or other symptoms of food poisoning since the hotel unilaterally laid off its cooks and outsourced cafeteria meals in May of 2023. A strike could be called at any time.
The BEI Hotel is owned by the Beijing Tourism Group, a Chinese state-owned enterprise managed by a subsidiary of the government of Beijing. It is a 400-room hotel located on 8th St. and Market St. in San Francisco and employs seventy workers, including housekeepers, banquet servers and bartenders, cooks, dishwashers, and more.
“I voted yes to strike because the hotel is giving us food that is not safe to eat,” said Amy Liu, a housekeeper at the BEI Hotel San Francisco for 16 years. “The BEI Hotel was wrong to lay off union cooks and serve us unsafe meals in the cafeteria. I work so hard cleaning rooms every day, and I deserve to be treated with respect.”
“I voted yes to strike because I want to go back to work and cook for my coworkers so they can eat healthy food,” said Isaias Galvez, a cook at the BEI Hotel San Francisco for thirty years. “After thirty years the hotel laid me off without negotiating with the union. They decided to bring outsourced food to the cafeteria for my coworkers. Now my coworkers tell me the food is cold, greasy, unsafe to eat, and that people have gotten sick from it. That is not right.”
“San Francisco’s tourism industry can’t recover without housekeepers, dishwashers, cooks, and servers who do difficult and painful jobs, but the BEI Hotel can’t even be bothered to give them cafeteria food that’s safe to eat,” said Anand Singh, President of UNITE HERE Local 2. “The BEI Hotel’s unfair elimination of in-house cooks hurts all BEI Hotel workers — those who were laid off and those who have gotten sick from outsourced cafeteria food.”
The workers say they have attempted to address the outsourcing of cafeteria food through meetings, negotiations, petitions, and mediation before deciding to take a strike vote. UNITE HERE Local 2 has filed unfair labor practices (ULP) charges with the National Labor Relations Board protesting the BEI Hotel’s unilateral elimination of union jobs.
The possible ULP strike over the outsourcing of food and beverage operations comes as the hotel and the union are engaged in protracted negotiations over other issues. Workers at the BEI Hotel have not received a raise in six years. Every other only major union hotel in San Francisco agreed to two consecutive contract agreements in 2018 and 2022; the BEI is the only one that has refused. Hotel management and the union have met regularly for negotiations, but the hotel has demanded concessions including job cuts and outsourcing.
UNITE HERE Local 2 is the hospitality workers’ union in the San Francisco Bay Area, representing over 15,000 workers in hotels, restaurants, food services, Oakland International Airport, San Francisco International Airport, and more.