Workers strike at Hotel del Coronado

CORONADO, Calif. - Cleaning crews, waiters and other workers at the landmark Hotel del Coronado staged a one-day strike Sunday, causing housekeeping delays and forcing managers to call in extra help.

The union representing 650 of the hotel's 1,400 employees is demanding salary hikes and benefits, as well as reasonable workloads for housekeepers.

Hotel Employees Restaurant Employees Union Local 30 members walked off the job at 1 a.m. Sunday. The strike was to last to 11:59 p.m.

Hotel managers had prepared for the walkout and called in other workers to tend to the hotel's 1,200 guests, said Michael Hardisty, the hotel's managing director. The number of extra workers was not immediately known.

In the morning, managers helped set up the hotel's Sheerwater restaurant, where Sunday brunch was served to about 1,000 diners, he said.

With about 16 percent of the hotel's housekeepers absent, there were some delays in cleaning services, he said.

''I'm not going to say it was a non-event,'' Hardisty said, ''but I will say I think we've done very, very well - better than the (San Diego) Chargers,'' who lost to the National Football League's Baltimore Ravens 24-3 Sunday.

Union workers have been picketing since their contract expired Aug. 31. The sides last held negotiations Nov. 28 and have since exchanged proposals.

Nelia Mills, a housekeeper at the hotel for 20 years, said she hoped the walkout would increase appreciation for her co-workers.

''They expect us to clean at least one room every half hour following their 70-item check list, down to the stamp on the toilet paper rolls. But when guests check out it takes at least 45 minutes to clean properly,'' she said in a union statement. ''It isn't right that the hotel thinks they can make us do more.''

The historic hotel, on the Coronado peninsula across from San Diego, was founded in 1888.


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