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caption: Hotel workers Liza Cruz, left and Lula Haile, right.
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Hotel workers Liza Cruz, left and Lula Haile, right.
Credit: KUOW Photo/Ruby de Luna

This hotel worker feels unsafe. Seattle wants to change that ASAP

Lula Haile remembers being attacked by a drunk hotel guest while making the bed.

She fought back. Later she told the manager what happened.

“She write down everything, what I did, everything I told her,” Haile told reporters. “But nobody said nothing to me.”

Today Haile works nights and still feels unsafe.

It’s been nearly three years since Seattle voters approved I-124 to protect the safety of hotel workers.

But those safeguards haven’t been put into practice because of a legal challenge. Today, the city introduced new legislation that aims to provide the same protections under the initiative.

Seattle’s proposed legislation would require safeguards that include providing panic buttons to workers. Another would require providing workers with adequate healthcare.

Speaking before a council committee hearing, Michael Clark, general manager at Renaissance Seattle Hotel, says the legislation goes far beyond hotel staff and safety issues.

“It’s important that we get this right, and not just push it through,” Clark said. “It’s important that there’s more dialog between our industry and the council and we come up with solutions that are mutually beneficial.”

The American Hotel and Lodging Association and the Seattle Hotel Association sued over I-124, saying it was too broad. The challenge now goes before the Washington State Supreme Court.

Councilmember Lorena Gonzalez co-sponsored legislation, says the proposals fulfill the will of the voters.

“Which one of us expects us to walk in to a room with a lock and be subjected to unwanted touching with no consequences for the person who did the touching?”

The Seattle City Council will take public comments beginning next week and hopes to have legislation passed by the end of summer.