If you think you’re being polite by delaying a hotel’s daily cleaning service, think again.
In a recent Insider story showing how poor working conditions are pushing Atlantic City casino cleaners to the brink of strike actionstaff said in interviews that delaying cleaning services makes their job more difficult, especially when they have to deal with dirt that has built up over days, sometimes a week, and with only 30 minutes or less for the do before the next guest.
“You think you’re doing me a favor, but you’re not — you’re just offloading more work,” said Ronette Lark, a 24-year-old employee at Harrah’s Resort Atlantic City.
Cleaners often already have to deal with unsightly and unfamiliar dirt found in rooms, but delaying work for days can make the job more daunting and unseemly, housekeepers told Insider.
And for Atlantic City cleaners, many of whom have families, the pay adds to the strains of the job. Cleaning staff reported an hourly wage of $16.25, or $3.25 above the state minimum wage, or less. Infrequent cleaning also means customers don’t tip as often.
“I could do 14 cases, and I’m lucky if I take home $20. That’s how bad it is,” said Iris Sanchez, a Caesars employee in Atlantic City.
Additionally, when rooms aren’t cleaned, arriving guests often blame and sometimes verbally insult staff, according to Mercedes Cuadros, another Caesars housekeeper.
Cuadros, who has worked at Caesars for 11 years, said in an interview that she would prefer there was a mandatory law for daily cleaning services in hotels.
The demand is not unprecedented.
On June 15, the The Los Angeles City Council passed a local ordinance which offers more protections to hotel workers. One of the elements of the ordinance is the automatic daily cleaning of the rooms.
Maria Hernandez, organizer of Unite Here Local 11, which represents hospitality workers in Southern California and sought the LA order, told Insider that one of the reasons the daily cleaning enforcement helps the workers is that it keeps the cleaners employed.
She said cutting these services was a method used by various industries to reduce the workforce.
For those worried about being polite to staff, Hernandez encouraged customers to take advantage of the service.
“At the end of the day, that doesn’t really help your housekeeper because it means she’s not looking after the rooms every day,” Hernandez said. “It’s just a lot more time for them to get the job done.”