As Comic-Con Begins, Hotel Workers Went On Strike… And Won

As Comic-Con Begins, Hotel Workers Went On Strike… And Won
Comic-Con International San Diego preview night on July 20, 2022 in San Diego, California. (Photo: Photo by Frazer Harrison, Getty Images)

Just as the Hilton Bayfront was set to open its doors to San Diego Comic Con attendees, special guests, and press, the workers at the hotel set up a picket line in front of the hotel. The strike only lasted a few hours, proving once again that collective action, worker solidarity, and excellent timing will often force management to come to the bargaining table willing to present reasonable offers.

The San Diego Union-Tribune reported that last Wednesday, despite the oncoming legion of nerds, geeks, and fans that are set to swarm the sold-out hotel, management had not come to an agreement with the Unite Here Local 30, which represents nearly 450 full-time employees and an additional 150 on-call workers. Today, however, they have presented an agreement that Brigette Browning, president of Unite Here Local 30, views positively, which ended the strike, for now.

This tentative agreement addresses the many issues our hotel workers are experiencing in this tough economic environment,” Browning said in a statement to the Union-Tribute. “The economy cannot truly recover from the pandemic by leaving behind residents who work in the hospitality industry, and now these hardworking San Diegans have a fighting chance to succeed. We did not want to strike during this important week for San Diego tourism, but it’s clear this is what it took to get the wages and benefits these workers deserve.”

The union began striking Wednesday night, just hours before one of the largest pop culture conventions in the world is set to begin. The Hilton Bayfront is not only completely booked for the convention, but is the site of many panels and press conferences throughout the event, including discussions for Abbott Elementary, Vampire Academy, and Chucky.

The union’s demands hinged on two points of contention: pay and work hours. The union wants a $US4.00 ($6) raise for its members over the course of 2 years and wants to reinstate the daily room cleaning requirements, which have been cut back and have decreased room cleaning demands by 30%. The union has not revealed the specifics of the tentative agreement, waiting for membership ratification.

“Hilton San Diego Bayfront is currently in negotiations with UNITE HERE Local 30, which represents some of our Team Members, for a new collective bargaining agreement,” a representative for the hotel told Gizmodo over email. “We are continuing to welcome guests and have contingency plans in place to ensure operations run as smoothly as possible. We are confident that the hotel and the union will reach a fair agreement that is beneficial to both our valued Team Members and to our hotel.”

They did not answer further questions about how the strike — which ultimately only lasted a few hours on Wednesday — would impact attendees or if they will be forced to cross a picket line to attend panels and events, inquiries about who is staffing the hotel or how those workers were recruited, or what is preventing the multi-billion dollar hotel chain from accommodating living wage requests in a city that is considered one of the most expensive and least housing-stable in the state of California.

io9 has reached out to Unite Here Local 30 for comment in the wake of the successful strike action, and will update this piece if and when we hear back.

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