Providence may be getting a $15 minimum wage ordinance for hotel workers if activists fighting for better working conditions at the Hilton and Renaissance get their way.
Today at 3:30 they are submitting more the more than 1,000 signatures needed to force the City Council to consider such an ordinance.
“We hope the City will not delay in bringing this Ordinance to the City Council so that we can consider the ordinance,” said City Councilor Carmen Castillo in a press release. “From talking to hundreds of people in Providence, this is an incredibly important issue for our city that quickly deserves the City’s attention.”
Providence Mayor Angel Taveras, who is running for governor, has not yet responded to a request for comment on the potential ordinance.
If the city validates the signatures, the Council will then have 70 days to take up the ordinance that would set a $15 minimum wage for hotel workers in Providence. The press release says there are more than 1,000 hotel workers who live in Providence.
“With this new minimum wage, I will be able to shop and support small business in my neighborhood,” said a housekeeper named Santa who works at the Renaissance Hotel. “No one on my block has any disposable income right now, so we suffer just like the business owners in our community.”
Employees and activists have been leading a high profile campaign for better working conditions at the Renaissance and Hilton hotels in Providence. They say they are forced to work in poor conditions for paltry wages while the multinational real estate holding company that owns the two hotels makes huge profits.
“We work very hard for billionaire corporations who pay us incredibly little,” said Yilenny Ferraras, a housekeeper at the Hilton. “If I received just a dollar and change more per room, my whole life and my whole neighborhood would change for the better.”
Since the public protests have begun, at least three activists have been fired, they say, for speaking out about the work conditions and advocating for collective bargaining rights.