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FAST COMPANY: Why the hotel workers in Las Vegas might be the next big strike

Earlier this month, the Culinary Local 226 released a report titled The Human Cost of High Hotel Profits: A Survey of Las Vegas Guest Room Attendants. The report notes that hotel operators have seen soaring profits over the course of the pandemic, with room prices rising 29% from 2019 to 2023. Meanwhile, the number of available jobs have fallen by 11%, as the size of Las Vegas resort industry staff decreased from 150,900 workers in 2019 to 134,100 in 2023. The burden of keeping these mammoth properties running has fallen on the remaining workers.

Instead, the report reveals that workers like Buie and her coworkers have been forced to take on additional duties and heavier workloads. This is a direct result of the ongoing pivot away from offering daily housekeeping that many hotels have taken since the start of the pandemic. “Housekeeping is a very difficult job and only doing checkouts makes it even harder,” guest room attendant Maria Luisa Martinez told the union. Instead of handling quick daily room refreshes, she and her coworkers find themselves spending more time and effort traveling throughout the properties to deep clean dirtier rooms.

It’s not just the walking, though some of these properties are enormous; the workers are also pushing heavy carts loaded with supplies and rushing to meet their room quotas before the end of their shift. As a result, 88% of the workers surveyed reported feeling pain or exhaustion while working, and 57% have had to get medical care for work-related stress and injuries sustained on the job. Three out of four guest room attendants have to take pain medication to make it through the day. “Some ladies cry at the end of their shifts because of how much pain they are in,” Martinez said. “Guest room attendants in Nevada need help because our workloads are too much for anybody.”

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