Kahler Hotel employees continue to push for better working conditions
ROCHESTER, Minn. (KTTC) – Kahler Hotel employees, union leaders and advocates gathered outside the Mayo Civic Center Saturday afternoon to push for better working conditions.
Employees say they’ve been dealing a “broken PTO system,” unlivable wages and haven’t been able to receive tips, as housekeepers claim they are unable to clean a guest’s room for five days after they arrive.
“I was laid off during COVID and lost all my PTO without any clear communication from the company. My wife got sick with COVID and to take care of her I had to take off work without pay because all my PTO was gone, which is unacceptable in the middle of a global health crisis,” a server at the Rochester Marriott said.
Unite Here! Local 17 represents employees at Kahler Hospitality Group, which encompasses about 150 to 200 employees between several hotels in Rochester.
“These workers make the hotels run, and they need to be compensated for it,” Unite Here! Local 17 president Christa Mello said.
Workers were joined by delegates who were at the DFL state convention, many of whom, are staying in Kahler Hotels for the weekend. Included in the list of speakers, was MN AFL-CIO President, Bernie Burnham and Minn. Attorney General Keith Ellison.
“There are workers at the hotel that have been working there 30 years, that are still making $15 an hour,” Burnham said. “These wages are unlivable, especially with the cost of living skyrocketing across the state, especially right here in Rochester. You said it. That ain’t right.”
“There is a union movement going on,” Ellison said. “We saw our brothers and sisters in Amazon, right. We saw that. We see the teachers standing up strong. We see workers all over this country saying, we gotta have dignity. We gotta have fair pay. We gotta have respect. And I’ll tell you right now, here in Rochester we mean it. We are with Kahler workers. Management, pay up, be fair, right now.”
Negotiations started back in Feb. Talks are set to continue Monday.
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