Crain's Detroit Business: Marick Masters on Metro Westin worker's vote to authorize strike

The Westin hotel at Detroit Metropolitan Airport is the latest to be targeted by a strike vote by workers seeking higher pay as part of the national effort at hotels operated by Marriott International. The move at the Romulus hotel expands the playing field in a battle over wages and other issues that already had 115 workers on strike at the Westin Book Cadillac in downtown Detroit as of Tuesday. They demand higher wages, hiring temporary workers on as full employees and giving the union more input on technology changes that could lose some staff their jobs. "I think you're probably going to see some upward movement in the wages, but it's not going to be as much as the union would like," said Marick Masters, director of Wayne State University's labor studies program. "You'll see the general trend in wages is that contracts have recently been negotiating higher wages." The Westin Book Cadillac most likely prepared thoroughly for a strike after contracts expired at the end of June, Masters said. "The hotels can maintain their operations because it's a relatively low wage industry. There's hesitancy to raise wages, particularly if you can hire people at the wage (you have)," Masters said. "You have a very large nonunion segment in the metropolitan area. It's a very difficult challenge for the union in this kind of environment."

Read full story in Crain's Detroit Business