GLBT AMERICA cleaning service Hotel housekeepers feel the pain of pandemic cleaning cutbacks

Hotel housekeepers feel the pain of pandemic cleaning cutbacks

  • Many hotels have done away with daily housekeeping, making one of the toughest jobs in the hospitality industry more grueling.
  • The move away from daily cleaning gained traction during the pandemic.
  • The change comes at a time when many of the mostly immigrant women who take these jobs are still reeling from lost work during coronavirus shutdowns.

HONOLULU – After guests checked out of a corner room at the Hilton Hawaiian Village resort on Waikiki beach, housekeeper Luz Espejo collected enough trash, some strewn under beds, to stuff seven large garbage bags.

She stripped the linens from the beds, wiped built-up dust off furniture and scrubbed away layers of grime on the toilet and bathtub. She even got on her hands and knees to pick confetti from the carpet that a heavy-duty vacuum failed to swallow up.

Like many other hotels across the United States, the Hilton Hawaiian Village has done away with daily housekeeping service, making what was already one of the toughest jobs in the hospitality industry even more grueling.

Industry insiders say the move away from daily cleaning, which gained traction during the pandemic, is driven by customer preferences. But others say it has more to do with profit and has allowed hotels to cut the number of housekeepers at a time when many of the mostly immigrant women who take those jobs are still reeling from lost work during coronavirus shutdowns.

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Purie Ibalio, a Hawaii hotel housekeeper, demonstrates how she rubs her aching hands on May 19, 2022 in Honolulu.

‘We cannot finish cleaning our rooms’

Many housekeepers still employed say their hours have been cut and they are being asked to do far more work in that time.

“It’s a big change for us,” said Espejo, a 60-year-old originally from the Philippines who has cleaned rooms at the world’s largest Hilton for 18 years, minus about a year she was laid off during the pandemic. “We are so busy at work now. We cannot finish cleaning our rooms.”

https://www.usatoday.com/story/travel/hotels/2022/05/26/hotel-housekeepers-pandemic-daily-cleaning-cutbacks/9939856002/