Good Jobs Coalition Raise Hundreds for Fired HEI Hilton Housekeepers
June 17, 2011
The Long Beach Coalition for Good Jobs and a Healthy Community and local restaurant Pizza Pi raised hundreds of dollars in raffle tickets and food and beverage proceeds for fired HEI Hilton Housekeepers on Wednesday, June 15.
About 100 community members came out to support the five fired HEI Hilton housekeepers, packing the small pizzeria for about three hours. The raffle between music sets sent winners home with books, original artwork, gift certificates to Long Beach-area small businesses Portfolio and Fingerprints, an autographed Shepard Fairey poster and more.
The HEI-owned Hilton Long Beach fired five housekeepers, who say they were retaliated against for speaking up to management and participating in a state investigation into alleged tax and labor code violations at the Hotel.
"As a local business owner, I was thrilled to host the Hilton 5 fundraiser and to see so many community members enjoy our homemade pizza and craft beers in the name of justice for the housekeepers," said Sid Ghiassi, owner of Pizza Pi. "The influx of supporters was a boon to Tuesday night at Pizza Pi. Future events are welcome!"
"Although the HEI-owned Hilton may not care about these ladies' financial well-being, the community does," said Joshua Jimenez, a hip-hop artist and Long Beach first-district resident. "And as a justice-seeking community, we will do whatever it takes to support the Hilton 5."
Two days before the housekeepers' sudden dismissal, three of the five housekeepers confronted the Hilton's human resources director about unfair working conditions. Some of the women had also recently participated in an on-going State investigation into their employment arrangement. All of the housekeepers were paid under-the-table without a legal paycheck.
The Hilton has stated the women were employed by a separate subcontractor with which Hilton ended its relationship due to "legal concerns." But housekeepers state that Hilton hired, supervised and fired them, and that for years they worked alongside other housekeepers, doing the same work and wearing the same uniform.
The only distinguishable difference was in the fired housekeepers' paychecks, which were paid from a subcontractor's account without payroll deductions required by law. The housekeepers also received no job-related benefits and received no sick days, vacation days or holidays as their Hilton co-workers did.