UNITE HERE – Housekeeping Can Be Dangerous Work
Nearly every hotel housekeeper is a woman, and she is most likely an immigrant or woman of color. Each day, she may lift 100-pound mattresses, push heavy supply carts across miles of carpeted floors, climb to clean high surfaces, or drop to her hands and knees to scrub floors. She may do these tasks dozens of times each day, taking a toll on her body simply to earn her daily bread.
In a recent survey of more than 600 hotel housekeepers in the U.S. and Canada, 91% said that they have suffered work-related pain. Of those who reported workplace pain:
” 77% said their workplace pain interfered with routine activities.
” Two out of every three workers visited their doctor to deal with workplace pain.
” 66% took pain medication just to get through their daily work quota
A 2009 study in the American Journal of Industrial Medicine studied the difference in hotel workers’ injury rates by sex, race/ethnicity, job title, and hotel employer. The results of this study found that among hotel workers:
” Housekeepers had the highest injury rate of 7.9, which is 50% higher than all hotel workers.
” Women hotel workers were 50% more likely to be injured than men.
” Hispanic housekeepers had the highest injury rate of 10.6. Hispanic housekeepers had the highest injury rate of all race/ethnicity groups, making them almost two times more likely to be injured than White housekeepers.
Here’s why :
” Heavy Workloads: In most hotels, a housekeeper must clean 15 or more rooms per day. To meet this quota, she often skips breaks and works off the clock. It also is increasingly common for her to have luxury beds with heavier mattresses and linens, triple-sheeting, duvets, and extra pillows than in years past. Other add-ons, like coffee pots, spa robes and floor-to-ceiling mirrors, can make a housekeeper’s job of cleaning a room even more difficult and time -consuming.
” Speedups: With booming business and high room rates, housekeepers face increasing time pressure to maintain a quality guest experience. Many housekeepers report that their hotels are under staffed and that they must work at unsafe speeds, which increases their risk of injury.