San Diego Hilton workers go on strike at the start of Comic-Con

As San Diego Comic-Con 2022 prepared to hold its first in-person show in three years, hundreds of employees at the Hilton San Diego Bayfront, a hotel with strong ties to the event, went on strike. CBR staff are on site and can confirm that the strike is officially in effect.

Hotel employees have been without a contract since November, and according to San Diego Union-Tribune, 450 employees went on strike on Tuesday night after agreeing to allow the union leadership to stage a strike if progress in talks fails. Unite Here Local 30, an organization representing hospitality workers across the United States, said negotiations stalled at 10 p.m. Tuesday after 1 p.m. of debate. A tweet from More Perfect Union also noted that Bayfront wanted to raise the monthly parking cost for workers from $45 to $65, which Unite Here planned to block.

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“We’ve been bargaining for months,” said Rick Bates, the union’s policy director. “We are demanding $4.00 (hourly) raises (over two years) and the company has offered $2.50 and no stay cleaning. We cannot allow room attendants to continue to suffer in an industry a billion dollars.”

Bates further explained that the $2.50 an hour increase was to be made over an 18-month period and only if the union agreed to drop demands for daily room housekeeping. According to Bates, such conditions are unacceptable because Unite Here estimates that failure to maintain daily housekeeping reduces workers’ hours by 30%, negating the effect of the wage increase. Although employees earn considerably more than minimum wage, ranging from $19.30 to $20.65 an hour, extraordinarily high housing costs in the county make it difficult to stay afloat.

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The strike could potentially cause massive disruption at San Diego Comic-Con, which returns to an in-person format this weekend for the first time in three years. Bayfront’s Indigo Ballroom hosts major panels and special events like this year’s Rick and Morty: Vindicators and Archer Special screenings of Season 13 and live Q&A panels. The hotel also hosts press events, and many media organizations, including CBR, use it as a base of operations to conduct interviews with creators and Hollywood celebrities during the con.

This year’s Comic-Con promises to be a particularly massive one, especially given its long hiatus. Marvel plans to put on several massive showcases, with major cast announcements rumored and first looks at its movies, TV, comics, and other ventures. DC also has several major events on the schedule, such as the first look at Shazam: Fury of the Gods.

San Diego Comic-Con International runs July 20-24.

Source: San Diego Union-Tribune, Twitter

Daniel K. Denny