Women Hospitality Workers March For Better Working
Conditions and Stop Traffic on Decatur St.
On March 16th, starting at Congo Square, around 200 workers marched through the F.Q. in honor of International Working Women’s Day. Led by NOHWA and People’s Assembly, and with working women leading the march, we rolled through the quarter in militant formation, demanding us workers get our fair share of the pie WE make. Hospitality workers labor accommodates the tourists who come to New Orleans, and generates the stolen taxes that ought to go into our community. The city has been stealing OUR tax dollars, $180 million a year, and we demand it back! We want free child care, vacation pay, paid sick days, free parking, harassment-free workplaces, and more!
There was fire, power, and clarity in our voices as we chanted, “What do we do when working women are under attack? STAND UP FIGHT BACK!” and “Racist, sexist, anti-gay, New Orleans bosses go away!!”. Throughout the march, alliance members signed up hospitality workers outside on break as members. We stopped to hear an array of workers’ experiences and bring light to common mistreatments in our workplaces. We blocked traffic on Decatur, powerful women workers spoke, and RTA bus drivers got out their buses and raised their fists in alliance with our collective demands! There is powerful potential for the women in this city to unite under the banner of the HWA and shut the restaurants and hotels down till we get what we want. We can have our needs met when we unify under “one band, one sound.” Thanks to all the people who contributed their power to raising the working women’s voice and thus our collective demands. Next year’s IWWD will be bigger and stronger as the work continues.
- By NBC
Last year I was working as a server at a place uptown called
Jamila’s Cafe and it was probably the worst job I’ve ever worked.
The owner would give me my schedule a week in advance, then
call me on the days I was scheduled to work and tell me not to
come in if he didn’t have any reservations. He just wanted to
make as much money as possible with no consideration for his
employees’ lives or families. He’d also call me two hours before
we opened on days where I wasn’t scheduled to work and ask me
to come in. If I ever told him I couldn’t make it on such short
notice, he’d simply go MIA for the next week, not answer my calls
or texts, and not send me my schedule. I’d usually just cancel my
plans and show up because I needed the money.
I was paid under the table so I couldn’t get unemployment
if he decided to fire me. He took all the servers’ tip money. We
didn’t get a shift meal or a discount, and if he saw us so much as
look at a piece of bread he’d just start yelling about how hard it
was to have a bunch of thieves working for him.
Every night on the job was awful. Working there was just
walking on eggshells. He and his wife owned the restaurant
and she was the only cook on staff. On busy nights, everything
was completely backed up, and they’d both just get completely
stressed because he’d be yelling at her about how slow she was.
If I came to check on an order he’d just go off on me. You could
hear everything going on in the kitchen from the dining room,
so all the customers would hear him screaming at us in the back.
One night, a customer grabbed my ass as he was leaving. The
owner saw and of course didn’t do anything. When I told him
about this problematic customer, he basically just told me to
shut up. I was so tired of the bullshit that I just quit on the spot.
I couldn’t take it anymore! Just because we’re hospitality workers
we should get treated like shit? We deserve better.
The struggle for quality public
- By Peyton
In January 2017, we came together for the first time as fellow hospitality workers to talk about the problems with the industry and the city and plan what we were going to do about it. Our first action was at the RTA monthly meetings: We’ve known since the beginning that quality public transportation is a NEED for all workers in New Orleans, from the West-bank to the East.
For over two years we have put forth demands for buses every 15 minutes, more routes and buses, shuttle services for late night workers (especially those out in the East and the West-bank/ Algiers), and clearly labeled stops with seating and shelters. In January 2019, the RTA began drafting proposals for shuttle services that would take hospitality workers to their destinations in the East and Algiers between 8 pm - 4 am for $2 a ride.
THIS IS A PEOPLES VICTORY! This WOULD NOT have happened without constant push back, organizing, & consistency by the alliance. From conducting surveys with fellow workers at 2 am to forcing RTA officials to ride the East Owl, we have made it clear that the workers of this city have had ENOUGH.
“Decimos chistes que ahí se va a rebajar de peso. Todas rebajamos de peso ahí porque el trabajo es tan fuerte. Una amiga ni me reconocio despues de trabajar un mes ahí.”
“We tell jokes that [working in the hotel] is where you go to lose weight. We all lose weight there because the work is so hard. One friend didn’t even recognize me after only one month of working there”
-- Anonymous hotel maid, Canal and St Charles
“Entro en la mañana antes que salga el sol y no salgo hasta que baje el sol”
“I go in to work in the morning before the sun comes up and I don’t leave until after sundown”
“Ahí no se gana dinero, solo se gana miseria”
“You don’t earn money there, you only earn misery”
-- Anonymous hotel maid, St. Peters and Andrew Higgins Blvd.
“I always think I’m hearing tickets printing, that’s the one thing I really hate”
-Culloden, line cook at Reginelli’s Pizza
IS IT POSSIBLE?
By Sarah Ruiz-Grossman 12/3/18 Huffington Post
-By Julianna Luna Vasquez, for Serve the People Feb 26, 2018
Chicago tribune, by Associated Press, July 2 2018
Posted Sep 24, 2018
Dana Goldstein, 2.19.19, New York Times
March 2019 Serve the People
How long was your commute?
We at the NOHWA (New Orleans Hospitality Workers Alliance) attend RTA board meetings to demand that they make changes to better serve US, the hospitality workers of this city. We want to make sure our voices are heard, so we need to know: How has lack of adequate public transit affected your life? What changes do you want to see to the public transit system? What would it be like in your wildest dreams? Where and when do you want more routes and more buses? Please tell us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
At the next RTA meeting we will pass your message along.. If you are interested in attending an RTA meeting to demand change in person, let us know!
We can and we must win this fight for better transportation in New Orleans.
Who Are We? We Are Workers!
The New Orleans Hospitality Workers Alliance is an organization created by and for hospitality workers. We fight for our long overdue rights using the power of collective struggle. Under the guidance of labor history we know that an organized workforce is how workers win.
This city has 100,000 hospitality workers! Organized & united we have the power to shut this city down. If we all went on strike tomorrow then the money would stop flowing, and our bosses and representatives would have no choice but to adhere to our demands.
We are opposed to all forms of oppression such as racism, sexism, homophobia, and transphobia. We support full rights & protections for our immigrant coworkers. We understand that our bosses use tactics that weaponize forms of discrimination to further divide workers. We must stand firm against these divisive tactics.
Our purpose is to organize our fellow hospitality workers so that we may secure just working conditions in our industry-- wages we can live on, benefits to support our families, and freedom from harassment and discrimination in the workplace.
Only through organizing will we be able to demand a better future for hospitality workers. We fight for better working conditions, both for workers currently in the industry and the children in the community who will inherit the industry.
Join us! Together we will win!
BILL OF RIGHTS BOX:
The Hospitality Workers Alliance is comprised of hospitality industry workers that are organizing for respectful treatment, living wages and equal resources for all hospitality workers in New Orleans. Below is our Bill of Rights which we dutifully stand by and promote for present and future hospitality workers.
1. Parking and Public
are either provided with a free
parking spot that is a close,
safe distance away from the
workplace or with a voucher
for public transportation.
Public transportation will be
reliable and running at times
when workers are going to
and from work.
2. Wages: Employees are able to
make a livable base wage of
$15 an hour.
3. Breaks: Employees are able to
take a paid break if they want.
4. Affordable Childcare and
Maternity Leave: Employers
will provide affordable
childcare to employees who
have children. Mothers
will receive paid maternity
leave and are guaranteed
5. Sick Pay: Every worker is
guaranteed paid sick days
6. Meals: Employers must
provide their employees with
a balanced, healthy meal free
7. Scheduling and Hours:
Employees are given a
predictable weekly schedule
and the option of either part-
time or full-time work.
8. Harassment: Employees work
in an environment free of
all forms of discrimination
based on one’s disability, race,
sex, gender identity, religion,
sexual orientation, language,
or nationality. Management is
also responsible for protecting
and stopping their employees
from being harassed by
9. Protect Immigrants:
Employers protect employees
from ICE raids and declare
their establishment as a
10. Pensions: Workers receive a
livable monthly pension after
workers voluntarily choose to
11. Healthcare: Employees
have access to affordable
12. Wage Theft: Employees are
protected from wage theft.
13. Vacation Time: Employers
provide their employees with
paid vacation time.
14. Comprehensive Emergency
Plan: When there is a natural
disaster, workers must
be given the opportunity
to evacuate without
repercussions from their
bosses. Workers must receive
compensation from their
employer for the missed shifts
caused by the natural disaster.
If a worker chooses to stay
and work during a predicted
disaster, then they must be
provided with transportation,
food, and accommodation.
Become A Member Of The New Orleans Hospitality Workers Alliance!
The New Orleans Hospitality Workers Alliance is an organization created by and for hospitality workers. Our purpose is to organize ourselves and our fellow hospitality workers so that we may secure just working conditions in our industry ----- wages we can live on, benefits to support ourselves and our families, and freedom from harassment and discrimination in the workplace. When you join the NOHWA you receive a monthly issue of Serve The People (our monthly industry newsletter), and email / texts invites to upcoming marches, actions, picket-lines, and workers meetings. You can sign up to become a member at our next open meeting, fill out the form on our contact page at https://nohwa.org or email us at email@example.com
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