Thanks to the publicity generated by Dominique Strauss-Kahn’s alleged attack on a New York City hotel maid last month, other abuses associated with the industry are coming to light as officials prepare for a trial and workers sense that the public is momentarily sensitive to their plight.
From regularly cleaning up other people’s filth to occasionally enduring verbal abuse and the unwanted sexual advances of men, the work that hotel room attendants do is far from pleasant. It’s about time they got a hearing. —ARK
The life of a hotel maid is not an easy one, with naked men flaunting their wares, verbal abuse, lecherous suggestions and personal hygiene standards that would shame a chimp. But thanks to Dominique Strauss-Kahn, things may be about to improve.
... But while physical abuse is uncommon, other kinds are “epidemic”, say union members. Luz Martinez, who has been a room attendant for 13 years, said verbal abuse was routine, along with male guests exposing themselves. She said that last week a guest tried to drag a colleague into his room.
The Strauss-Kahn affair has made it easier to speak out, Martinez said. “It’s very hard to report these situations every day. This is life. This lady has opened the door for us to say what has happened in the hotels. Before this, we didn’t want to say, we wanted to keep the peace,” she said.