I wrote about the San Francisco hotel strike and lockout in a blog in early October when the strike started. This is an update.
When the two-week strike was over, the lockout continued as I explained that it would. It is profitable for the hotels to work with a skeleton crew during the nearly vacant months of Nov-May when room occupancy is usually under 50%.
The mayor’s office in San Francisco has a long history of being a mediator in local strikes. Mayor Alioto and Mayor Willie Brown were particularly good mediators.
Our current mayor, Gavin Newsom, decided to intercede as a mediator. He was in a perfect position; he took campaign money and support from both sides of the strike-lockout.
Instead the mayor sent both sides a letter giving them 24 hours to go back to work and start mediating during a 90-day “cooling off” period. The unions said, "Great" -- they need their jobs. The hotels said, "Hell no, we are making money keeping these ingrates on the street."
The Mayor lost his cool. The hotels ignored his demand, so he lost it. He joined the union picket line and made an outrageous public attack on the hotels saying that the city would never again use the fourteen locked out hotels.
The attack was pathetic because the City doesn’t use hotels; it only gets tax revenue from the hotels. It gets $150 million a year in hotel surtax. It is possible that a few top City employees have affairs with their staff in the big hotels, but illict City Hall affairs aren’t a major money stream for the hotels.
Now the Mayor is recognized as an inept wimp.
The union workers are the real losers. Most workers will never get their jobs back, and the ones who do it will be working under the worst conditions.
The current Lefty-mandated San Francisco minimum wage of $9.50 per hour, starting January 1, probably plays a role in this mess, but I don't know yet how it plays a role.