Voters in the US city of Seattle overwhelmingly approved a ballot measure on November 8 which gives hotel workers important new protection against sexual harassment and injuries on the job. The “YES on 124” initiative obliges hotels to provide panic buttons for workers to call for help if they’re harassed by a guest, and also requires hotels to keep record of accusations of harassment and assault by guests and ban them from the hotel for three years. Hotel shall also shall also place a sign that includes the heading “The Law protects hotel housekeepers and other employees from violent assault and sexual harassment”, a citation to this act and notice of the fact that the hotel is providing panic buttons to employees.
In addition, the hotel will have to fund health insurance for full-time employees in addition to wages and limit room cleaners’ workloads per shift to protect them from injury. It also provides job security by giving existing employees an opportunity to keep their jobs when ownership or management changes.
The initiative 124 (full text is available here), which was approved by 77 percent of Seattle voters, was promoted by UNITE HERE! Local 8 and other unions, and supported by a large coalition of NGOs and civil rights groups.