Study: Latina Hotel Workers Injured Most

By Leticia Miranda Nov 13, 2009

A recent study found that the injury rate for Latina hotel workers is higher than that for their male counterparts and white female counterparts. The study, titled Occupational Injury Disparities in the US Hotel Industry, found that Latina hotel workers had the highest injury rate at 10.6 percent a year while white hotel workers had a rate of 6.3 percent, Black workers had a rate of 5.5 and Asian workers had a rate of 7.3 percent. The research team couldn’t figure out why the rate was so much higher for Latina workers than any other group. They speculated that it might be their "small stature" or that managers force them to carry heavy loads. But John W. Wilhelm, president of Unite Here, an organization that represents hotel workers, said to the New York Times:

This study is stunning evidence of the unequal impact of injuries in the hotel industry, and it calls into question whether discriminatory workplace practices play a role.

Although the NYT article is as equally clueless as the researchers about discriminatory and exploitative work practices, past and current campaigns for better pay and better working conditions might suggest that many hotel cleaning companies hire mostly poor Latinas and Asians to work more for less pay resulting in more frequent injuries. Researchers found that the Hyatt hotel chain had the highest injury rate at 10.4 percent. Bad news for the hotel especially as San Francisco Hyatt Grand hotel workers just completed a a three-day strike for better wages and health care benefits.