Saturday, September 27, 2008

The Other Hilton Story

While the mainstream media seems to only cover the Paris Hilton saga, another Hilton saga ran for nearly a year that nearly everyone in the media completely missed. A contract dispute between the management of the Portland, Oregon Hilton Hotel and the Unite Here Local 9 hotel employees union involved a long consumer boycott of the hotel by many conventions, businesses and other hotel patrons that cost this hotel over $1.8 million in lost business.

What held up the hotel from giving in to employee demands were little issues like giving the housekeeping staff a reduced workload from 16 rooms a day minimum down to 14 rooms a day minimum and bus pass subsidy because many of the employees earn too little money to even afford a car to drive to work. Of course there were also some very minor issues like union protection of jobs in the event that the hotel might be sold to some other company other than the current owners. Nowadays, many in business make money by buying other businesses, cutting wages or staff, and then reselling the business like it's some fixer-upper house or car.

Unfortunately, for the media a story where workers are so poor that they have to ride the bus to work is not very compelling reading so they figure that the exploits of Hilton heiress, Paris, makes for much more compelling reading. Even her pet Chihuahua has gotten more press coverage than the hotel workers who just needed a bus pass allowance so they can get to work.

Indeed, there are two Americas. The mainstream media covers the meaningless exploits of a foolish wealthy heiress, while others toil in a life and death struggle in low income jobs with rising prices, high rents and increased medical expenses.

Oh, it's not the glamorous life of a hotel heiress at all for many persons.


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