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'We Want Fairness': Union Workers At Wyndham Historic District Hotel On Strike Over Pay, Staff Shortages

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) -- Housekeepers, bartenders, food service staff, cooks, laundry attendants, dishwashers and bellmen all walked off the job to picket outside the Wyndham Historic District Hotel in Old City. The staff cite numerous concerns, from low pay to staffing.

"It's a struggle," Housekeeper Renee Holmes said, adding, "We're striking because we are unpaid and overworked

Unite Philly Local 274, the union representing Wyndham's workers, said employees here have not had a raise since July 2019 all while seeing their workload increase because of staffing shortages and additional COVID cleaning policies.

"Hotel workers have been taken for granted for a very long time but particularly during the pandemic," Katherine Cristiani, the executive vice president for Unite Here, said.

"We do 25 beds and the toll that it puts on your body is real hard," Holmes told CBS3. "My legs are swollen, my ankles, my feet, my hands

Unite Philly said that while hospitality is the city's fastest growing industry, 73% of its employees earn less than half of the annual cost of living for one adult and one child. It's a hardship often tied to race.

"The vast majority of workers at the Wyndham Historic District are people of color, and often times, I think their work is overlooked even more so," Cristiani said.

In a statement, a spokesperson for Wyndham said:

"While we respect the right of employees to strike, we're disappointed that unite here has chosen this path. The hotel is open and operating, and we have taken measures to help ensure guests are not impacted."

To that, workers said it's time their voices are heard.

"We want fairness," Holmes said.

The strike officially ends at 7:30 a.m. Monday. As of now, union leaders tell CBS3 they have not been contacted by Wyndham. If necessary, the union said they will strike again.

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