Monday, January 7, 2013

Hotel Maids: Work the Hardest, Paid the Least

Hotel and Restaurant Industry in U.S.
Tipped Employees (e.g. bartenders, cocktail servers, food servers, room service waiters, bus persons, etc.)

* States that do not have state minimum wage laws in 2013.
* States that are above federal minimum wage of $7.25 an hour.

State Jurisdiction

Minimum Hourly Wage 




$7.75 *

Arizona $4.65




$8.00 *

Colorado $4.76


































  (see here)





Montana: $8.25 *





New Hampshire

 (see here)

New Jersey


New Mexico


New York


North Carolina


North Dakota







$8.80 *



Rhode Island


South Carolina


South Dakota






Utah $2.13






$9.04 *

West Virginia




Wyoming $2.13
The Hotel Employees and Restaurant Employees Union (H.E.R.E.) was a United States labor union representing workers of the hospitality industry and was first formed in 1891.

In 2004, HERE merged with the Union of Needle Trades, Industrial, and Textile Employees (UNITE) to form UNITE HERE and notably organized the staff of Yale University in 1984.

Major employers contracted in this union include several large casinos (Harrah's, Caesars Palace, and Wynn Resorts); and the hotel chains Hilton, Hyatt and Starwood, as well as Walt Disney World. 

HERE (and later UNITE HERE) were affiliated with the AFL-CIO until September 2005, when the General Executive Board of UNITE HERE voted to leave the AFL-CIO and join with the Change to Win Coalition.

The Change to Win Federation originally formed as an alternative to the AFL-CIO. The coalition is associated with strong advocacy of the organizing model. The coalition currently consists of four member unions: The International Brotherhood of Teamsters; Service Employees International Union (SEIU); United Farm Workers; and the United Food and Commercial Workers.

Nobody in the hotel (hospitality) business works as hard as the housekeepers, and the vast majority are women, and a great majority are also minorities and/or immigrants -- and like farm workers, "doing the jobs that most Americans don't want to do".

Hotel maids or housekeepers make beds, fold towels, empty trash, clean bathrooms, wash sheets and perform many other tasks in order to keep a hotel clean and organized. They may clean guest rooms or common areas at any given time. Their jobs are quite tough, requiring long hours for low wages. Most hotel maid jobs don't require any formal education, and many don't even require fluent English.

Last year billionaire Penny Pritzker, part of the family that owns Hyatt, was the target of the AFL-CIO who had called for a global boycott of Hyatt.

The union's list of what they considered the four top reasons:

  1. "Hyatt is engaging in subcontracting that is destroying good jobs and exploiting immigrant workers.”
  2.  “Hyatt housekeepers suffer abuse and face dangerous workloads." 
  3. “Hyatt has refused to remain neutral as non-union hotel workers organize.” 
  4. "Hyatt turned heat lamps on striking workers during a brutal heat wave.”

Hyatt responded to the union campaign against it by calling the tactics “an attempt to boost union membership at non-union Hyatt hotels through card check, a non-democratic and often intimidating process for workers.”

Doug Patrick, Hyatt Hotels Corporation’s senior vice president of human resources, said in a statement: 

“Hyatt has been putting its associates first by protecting their right to a fair choice and standing ready to pay the raises they should have had three years ago. It’s our associates who make a difference in the lives of Hyatt guests and coworkers each day. Their well-being is fundamental to our success, and we want to reach an agreement so they can get the pay and benefits they deserve.”

Last year the website reported, "Hundreds of hospitality workers and their supporters in Baltimore are rallying at the Hyatt Regency to protest low wages and subcontracting of hotel jobs"

In response to the loss of manufacturing jobs regionally, Baltimore city leaders had hoped to revive the local economy and create more good jobs by investing millions of taxpayer dollars into the very profitable hospitality industry.

“When I started at the Hyatt more than a decade ago, we had 35-40 in-house housekeepers. Today we only have nine. The rest are temps who make as little as $8/hour and have to clean up to 30 rooms a day,” said Denise Sidbury, a housekeeper at the Hyatt Regency.

By contrast, the  Hyatt's CEO Mark S. Hoplamazian makes a $6.5 million annual salary.

According the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, as of 2010 there were 1,427,300 maids and housekeeping employees in the U.S. and that number is expected to climb another 111,600 in the next 7 years..

And also according the Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 2011 housekeepers and maids had a Mean hourly wage of $10.31 an hour and a Median average wage of $9.32 an hour.

By contrast Hilton's CEO Christopher J Nassetta has a 5-Year Salary of $40 million.

And Marriott's CEO J Willard Marriott Jr has a 5-Year Salary of $125 million (Read about Mitt Romney's Son of Boss tax scam while at the Marriott).

Most housekeepers in Las Vegas belong to the Culinary Union (part of UNITE HERE), and so the casino hotels in Las Vegas pay slightly more.

Bartenders, cocktail servers, food servers, room service waiters, bus persons (etc.) in many states are paid much less because they are considered to be "tipped employees" and the state's minimum wage for these jobs are reflected in the left column of this page

But the national "mean" wage for a bartender is $10.36 an hour.

Again, another exception would be the union hotel casinos in Las Vegas, where apprentice bartenders average $13 an hour and bartenders $17 an hour (plus healthcare, dental, eyeglasses and pension benefits). See their union websites for more:

Housekeepers in union hotel casinos in Las Vegas are paid an average of $13-$16 an hour on The Strip, and have the same benefits as bartenders. But downtown Las Vegas casino employees (for some odd reason) earn slightly less than those on The Las Vegas Strip.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, a hotel "executive housekeeper" (the maid's boss) earned an average of $32,660 annually as of May 2011, slightly more than a bar manager in a hotel casino in Las Vegas.

Because hotels are usually open 24/7, hospitality employees also work nights, week-ends, and holidays. Many work split-shifts, graveyard shifts, and "on call".

To avoid paying for union benefits and fair wages, many hotels outsource to subcontractors, who pay their employees much less and work part-time with no benefits at all.

If you stay at a hotel or motel, please don't forget to tip! The richest people are usually the cheapest tippers. And when they have the most money, they also pay the lowest wages (That's how they got the most money, by being the cheapest.) Ask the Waltons of Wal-Mart, they'll tell you.

IRS forms released by Mitt Romney's campaign showed that despite reporting an income of $22 million in 2010, the Romney's only paid $20,603 in wages for their 4 housekeepers --- cleaning 3 big houses. READ MORE>>>

Youth and good looks are a gold mine on the Las Vegas Strip. READ MORE>>>

By hiring young, pretty cocktail servers and requiring them to maintain certain sizes, don sexy uniforms, and wear high heels (even as they age) casinos have long tested the boundaries of discrimination laws. READ MORE>>>

Revel Hotel and Casino employees: Beware of Age Discrimination! READ MORE>>>

Robert Thomas is one of only a few to win a settlement from a Las Vegas casino in a federal age discrimination case. READ MORE>>>

* Remember: Hotel bartenders and housekeepers in the U.S. have jobs that can't be robotized or outsourced to China. So join a union and DEMAND better wages!

List of hotels in the United States (by State)


  1. September 25, 2014

    LA Hotel Workers Win $15.37 Minimum Wage: a New Day for Labor in the United States?


    Starting this week, the Marriott hotel chain will encourage guests to tip their maids, becoming the latest company to ask consumers to directly shoulder an even larger portion of worker pay.

  3. ----------- Update as of February 2016 -----------

    In Nevada the state's minimum wage is $8.25/hr.

    In Las Vegas, Culinary Union Local 226 housekeepers in the hotel/casinos earn $13.87/hr as a starting wage.

    After they complete probation, it goes to $17.34/hr — and they also get the usual union benefits, such as healthcare, paid vacations, pension contributions from the employer, etc.

    Per: Wanda Henry
    Director of Operations
    Culinary Workers Union
    1630 South Commerce St.
    Las Vegas, NV. 89102

    1. Last week Nevada U.S. Senator Harry Reid helped rig the Nevada Democratic Caucus with help from this union and the housekeepers by getting them to vote for Hillary Clinton rather than Bernie Sanders,.