Housekeeping understaffed, a national concern
After a long period of simply trying to stay afloat, hotels in many parts of the country have rebounded near normal occupancy rates. In theory, this would be great news, but unfortunately several leading hotel chains in the US have not rearranged the size of housekeeping staff to accommodate the higher number of guests, The Guardian reports.
While many hotel housekeeping workers are still waiting for a callback to work in any capacity, even those who have returned are often faced with limited hours and overly strenuous workloads.
Housekeeper Nuris Veras Merlos detailed her recent experiences upon returning to work – noting the increased effort and time it takes to clean rooms under new protocols and limited staff. Currently, she only works one or two days a week.
In an interview with reporters, Veras Merlos shared that before the pandemic, duties mainly included cleaning up touch-ups. Now, however, guests forgo cleaning during their stay, and housekeepers are only sent to rotating rooms. When they enter, they are faced with piles of dirty towels and sheets and floors sometimes so wet and dirty that they have to be scrubbed heavily. Veras Merlos explains that the tasks not only take more work, they require stronger chemicals in order to make the surfaces clean enough for the next guests.
Several hotel chains have made recent announcements regarding reductions in housekeeping services, including host hotels and resorts offering housekeeping services as an opt-in amenity as opposed to the supposed daily job. Other chains such as Hilton and Pebblebrook also announced deep cuts.
Following these large-scale cuts, the Unite Hire union published a report document the impact of these decisions at the national level:
• The loss of 39% of housekeeping positions (180,000 estimated)
• $4.8 billion in cumulative lost wages
• Nearly three-quarters (73%) of anticipated impacted employees would be people of color
In more upbeat housekeeping news, IEHA is hosting the 32nd Annual Housekeeping Olympiad, an inspiring and fun challenge for those in the healthcare, hospitality, facilities management and residential cleaning. The event is a great way to recognize the great staff who work inside the facilities. Registration is still open until August 21. For more information, click here.