Heartbreaking stories from Marriott Strike picket line in San Francisco

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ByDion Lim via KGO logo
Saturday, November 3, 2018
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"She is just struggling by not having the money. That's just the problem." Luis Deras, just 10 years old, says he wishes he could help his mom Raquel, a Marriott worker currently on strike.

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- For the past 30 days, Julian Penrose has been on the picket line with his colleagues at the W Hotel in San Francisco, fighting for fair wages. He and his wife of 13 years can't, in his words, live a normal life because of the working conditions. The W Hotels chain is owned by Marriott International.

RELATED: 2,500 Marriott workers go on strike in San Francisco

"I don't feel like my wife and I can have children in the city and raise them in the way we want to raise them. I've had to work two jobs just to make ends meet. I've done a ton of overtime. I work 24 hours straight on multiple occasions and once I worked 32 hours straight," Penrose said as he stood outside San Francisco City Hall, where union members met with San Francisco Supervisors on Friday.

Penrose has been a bellman at the W Hotel for eight years and says he makes just over minimum wage plus tips. Even tips are dwindling because of the state of the San Francisco economy.

"I've seen it just go down increasingly as the cost of living increases in the city," Penrose said.

Outside City Hall during Friday's San Francisco Board of Supervisors meeting, we found housekeeper Raquel, a single mom, and her son Luis. Just 10 years old, he feels the burden of his mother's money woes.

RELATED: Marriott is a no show at hotel strike hearing at San Francisco City Hall

"She is just struggling by not having the money. That's just the problem. And I feel like I just need to help her on something," Luis Deras said.

Luis is even in tune with a $50 a month rent increase. His mom Raquel Marabilla shakes her head sadly.

"He asks me, 'Mom, what can I do?'" she said.

At the Marriott Marquis during the brief picket line pause, the effects of the strike could still be felt outside. Maria Entesari is visiting from Southern California. Some Marriott rewards members are changing allegiances after learning about working conditions.

RELATED: Meet some of the Marriott workers on strike in San Francisco since Oct. 4

"You want to stay in a hotel where there are people who take care of you. I don't want to stay somewhere that is not giving fair wages," Entesari said.

Until that happens, many workers will stay somewhere else as well: on the sidewalk outside.

Find more videos, photos and stories about the Marriott Strike here.