Since 2003, the price of homes have almost doubled, rent for a two-bedroom apartment has gone up at least nine percent, average child-care costs have risen 11 percent, and gasoline costs have gone up roughly 75 percent. With these increased costs, as well as the huge jump in health care and insurance costs, hospitality workers are finding it difficult to live.

According to a Monterey Herald (Cal.) article, most hotel workers receive under $12 an hour, or $25,000 per year, for their services, a wage that has not kept pace with basic cost of living. The reality is that many of them have been forced to take on additional jobs, cut back on food budgets and miss expensive doctor visits.

Union representatives comment: "We need to do for hospitality workers and others in service jobs in the 21st century what Americans did for automobile, steel and electronics jobs in the 20th century. We need to turn poverty-level jobs into good jobs. The fight to make hospitality jobs middle-class jobs is a fight for the economic future of our region."

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