Hotel workers plan hunger strike if budget bans municipal wage raise

Hotel workers and their supporters said Monday afternoon that three or more of them will begin a hunger strike if the R.I. Senate passes a state budget that bans municipalities from individually voting to raise the minimum wage. More

To continue reading this article, please do one of the following.


Hotel workers plan hunger strike if budget bans municipal wage raise

Posted 6/15/14

(Updated, June 17, 3:20 p.m.)

PROVIDENCE – Hotel workers and their supporters confirmed Tuesday morning that three Providence hotel workers and a Central Falls city counselor will move ahead with their planned hunger strike to protest a provision of the state budget banning municipalities from individually voting to raise the minimum wage.

The R.I. Senate passed the fiscal 2015 state budget containing the ban in a 32-5 vote on Monday evening.

Jenna Karlin, Rhode Island Director for Unite Here 217, said the strike could last about seven days and participants said they’d subsist on water.

The union helped organize a petition to the Providence City Council to raise the minimum wage for hotel workers to $15 an hour, with city councilors voting last Thursday to put the matter to referendum on the November ballot. That same day, the state House of Representatives passed a budget for fiscal year 2015 that included a provision to ban such measures by any city in the state.

Gathering on the steps of the Rotunda at the Statehouse, workers and supporters held a sign that read, “Let our neighbors vote to give us a raise.”

Mirjaam Parada, an Omni Hotel worker who makes $17.41 an hour, more than the $8 minimum wage, and Central Falls City Councilor Shelby Maldonado, who does not work at a hotel but is a union representative, both plan to participate in the hunger strike as a show of support, because workers don’t make a living wage, they said.

“The only way to support the workers is to be on a hunger strike,” said Parada.

Maldonado said she is participating because she believes the ban would deprive Providence hotel workers of their right to vote on the issue locally.

“Let the people decide for themselves their own economic future,” she said, adding later, when questioned to explain why she’s involved, “We want to be a voice for them. Providence workers live paycheck to paycheck.”

The fiscal year 2015 budget also includes a provision to raise the $8 minimum wage to $9 in January.

PBN Hosted

Join PBN and two panels of successful female executives, business owners and entrepreneurs as we delve into what women should do to advance their careers, and become leaders in the corporate world and their own enterprises.
  • Book of Lists Party
    Save the date - January 15, 2015 for PBN's Book of Lists Party at the Providence ...
  • Best Places to Work
    Enrollment is now open for the 7th annual Best Places to Work program. Winners w ...
Purchase Data
Book of Lists
Book of Lists cover
PBN's annual Book of Lists has been an essential resource for the local business community for almost 30 years. The Book of Lists features a wealth of company rankings from a variety of fields and industries, including banking, health care, real estate, law, hospitality, education, not-for-profits, technology and many more.
Data icons
Data can be purchased as single lists, in either Excel or PDF format; the entire database of the published book, in Excel format; or a printed copy of the Book of Lists.
  • Purchase an e-File of a single list
  • Purchase an e-File of the entire Book of Lists database
  • Purchase a printed copy of the Book of Lists
    Latest News