Claudia's Law: Support Hotel Workers

As a member organization of the Long Beach Coalition of Good Jobs and a Healthy Community, TALB supports efforts to bring justice for hotel workers. Below is a letter that TALB President Barry Welsch wrote on behalf of the membership with the approval of the TALB Executive Board to the Long Beach City Council. Watch this video to learn more about Claudia Sanchez and the many hotel workers like her who have endured heavy workloads and sexual harassment in the work place. Many of our students are the children of hotel workers and we support them and their families.

Dear members of the Long Beach City Council,

On behalf of the 3,600 members of the Teachers Association of Long Beach, I am writing in support of Long Beach hotel workers and the passage of Claudia’s Law.

Hotel employees are ultimately the backbone of any hotel operation. It is the employees who clean the rooms, interact with the guests and set the standard for service. Workers in Long Beach hotels, the majority of whom are women that both live and work in Long Beach, face working conditions that are simply unacceptable, including heavy workloads and sexual harassment.

Research shows that between 1997 and 2013, the number of Long Beach hotels has increased by 20 percent. However, the number of workers per hotel, has decreased by 17 percent. This means that hotel workers, particularly housekeepers, now have increased workloads leaving them exhausted and can often result in them having to work through their legal breaks in order to meet their room quotas.  In the case of Claudia Sanchez, a twenty year old dishwasher at the Renaissance Hotel, she collapsed and fell into a coma after working a 14 hour shift and is continuing to recover from grave injuries.

In addition to heavy workloads, these women often undergo sexual harassment by hotel guests.  A recent study shows that 82 percent of hotel employees nationwide have been subject to verbal aggression or incidents of “deviant customer actions on the job.” According to the U.S. Justice Department, 68 percent of sexual assaults go unreported.

Many of these workers are parents of Long Beach Unified School District students and we know that overwork and the trauma involved with harassment creates huge barriers to success in school, whether a student or a parent of a school aged student.  The Teachers Association of Long Beach encourages you as a leader in the City of Long Beach to take the appropriate steps to help pass Claudia’s Law.  This law will help regulate workloads for housekeepers and mandate common sense security measures to protect women from harassment in Long Beach hotels.

Sincerely,

Barry Welsch
President
Teachers Association of Long Beach