Sunday, December 02, 2007

Traveling Over Holidays--Ethical Traveling

Now that Thanksgiving is over, most people are looking forward to the holidays. I already
took the pledge for ethical traveling to support hotelworkers at hotels.

According to Salon,"the Jewish Funds for Justice, the Progressive Jewish Alliance, and the Jewish Labor Committee [has] collaborated to launch the Travel Justly campaign. The effort is designed to call attention to -- and perhaps even improve -- the relatively crappy working conditions of many hotel housekeepers. Ninety percent of these workers are women. "

According to UNITE/HERE what are the working conditions of housekeepers:

"- Hotel housekeepers are facing increasing injuries due to heavy workloads. In most hotels, housekeepers must clean 15 or more rooms per day.

- Hotel housekeepers must rush to meet a daily quota of cleaned rooms. They frequently skip rest periods and meals in order to finish, and even work off the clock to meet their quotas.

- In recent years, corporate hotel chains such as Hilton, Hyatt and Sheraton have increased both the pace and the amount of work performed by housekeepers.

- Most hotels have recently introduced new room amenities without reducing the number of rooms assigned to housekeepers each day. Luxury beds with heavier mattresses and linens, triple-sheeting, duvets, and extra pillows ... make room cleaning more difficult and time-consuming.

- According to a recent study of company records covering thousands of employee injuries, hotel housekeepers face an injury rate of 10.4%, almost double the injury rate for non-housekeepers (5.6%).

- Sprains and strains are the most common housekeeper injuries (44% of all injuries in one study) often resulting from demanding tasks like bed making_lifting mattresses, adding extra sheets, and stuffing multiple pillows and duvets_and pushing heavy carts full of linens and amenities.

- In a recent survey of more than 600 hotel housekeepers in the U.S. and Canada, 91% said that they have suffered work-related pain. 77% said their workplace pain interfered with routine activities. Two out of every three workers visited their doctor to deal with workplace pain. 66% took pain medication just to get through their daily quota.

- Hotel housekeeper injuries are debilitating. Back injuries, housemaids' knee (bursitis), and shoulder pain can lead to permanent disability.

- When injured workers try to return to work, most hotels do not offer them lighter tasks to do, forcing them to choose between getting hurt again or not working at all. "

The pledge I signed says that over the holidays as well as in the future I will

"- avoid hotels where workers are on strike;

- support union hotels (the site, unfortunately, requires you to enter the name of a specific hotel in a specific town; it would be a lot nicer if you could just search by city, assuming a full list would be too long to effectively navigate).

- TIP YOUR MAID $2-$5/day*

- be considerate by putting trash in trash cans, leaving dirty towels on the counter or racks so the housekeeper doesn't have to bend over to pick them up; and stripping your own bedsheets;

- leave complimentary comment cards if you are happy with your maid service;

- keep a copy of the pledge in your suicase to remind you of it when you travel.

After you sign the pledge, you can buy a luggage tag to remind you of the pledge, plus make your luggage identifiable. 75% of the cost of the tag is tax-deductible. And maybe, if you're lucky, occasionally give you an opportunity to talk to other travelers about the campaign.

So far now on I can tip $2-5/day whenever I'm in an hotel.

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