11:56 AM: Workers at a second luxury hotel in downtown San Francisco began a three-day strike today as contract negotiations with hotel management remained stalled.

About 350 workers began picketing outside the Palace Hotel at 2 New Montgomery St. this morning, Unite Here Local 2 spokeswoman Riddhi Mehta said.

“The workers are fired up,” Mehta said. “They’ve got their morning coffee and they’re ready for a very long three days.”

The first three-day strike occurred last week at the Grand Hyatt. Though those workers went back to work on Sunday, they are calling for a boycott of the hotel. Union members are now also calling for a boycott of the Palace Hotel.

The temporary strikes are intended to pressure hotel management amid continued negotiations. Thousands of workers have been without new contracts since Aug. 14.

A spokesperson for the Palace Hotel, which is owned by Starwood Hotels and Resorts, did not immediately return a call for comment this morning.

“We just hope that the hotel companies get the message, and put a fair proposal on the table,” Mehta said.

According to the union, the main sticking points in the negotiations are retirement and health benefits.

The union, which represents room cleaners, cooks, food servers, bellmen, bartenders and dishwashers, is negotiating separately with the owners of 61 San Francisco hotels, including Hyatt, Hilton, Marriott, Starwood, Intercontinental and Fairmont.

Union members at 31 of those hotels authorized strikes on Oct. 22.

The Palace Hotel workers are scheduled to go back to work Friday morning.

Similar brief strikes are possible at other hotels, but the union is not considering a citywide strike at this point, Mehta said.

“It’s more of a strategic approach,” Mehta said. She would not specify which hotel might be next.

“It depends on how negotiations go,” she said. “This is all just to send the hotels a message that we are very serious about getting a fair contract.”

Union officials and hotel management sat down Monday with Mayor Gavin Newsom for what Mehta said was an informational meeting that did not involve negotiations, she said.
“He listened, and he’s aware of what’s going on,” Mehta said.

Newsom spokesman Nathan Ballard called the meeting “an important first step” toward resolving the conflict but declined to comment further.

7:40 AM: Workers at the Palace Hotel in San Francisco began a three-day strike this morning as contract negotiations with hotel management remained stalled.

Approximately 350 workers, members of Unite Here Local 2, began picketing in front of the hotel at 2 Montgomery St. at about 4 a.m., union leaders said.

Sticking points in the negotiations include hotel management’s proposal to reduce health and retirement benefits.

The strike, expected to last until Friday morning, comes on the heels of a three-day strike by workers at the Grand Hyatt last week. Mayor Gavin Newsom has stepped in to assist with the contract talks.

The union, which is negotiating separately with hotels including the Hyatt, Hilton, Marriott, Starwood and Intercontinental, represents thousands of employees in the hospitality industry, including room cleaners, cooks, food servers, bellmen, bartenders and dishwashers.

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