On the One-Year Anniversary of the Pandemic Hundreds of Hospitality Workers Remain Out of Work

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Friday, March 12, 2021

MJ Leira, [email protected]

Diplomat Beach Resort Workers Demand Their Jobs Back as the Hotel Prepares for a Tourism Come Back Without Its Long-Term Workers


 HOLLYWOOD, FL—March marks one year since COVID-19 left millions of Americans out of work. For hospitality workers across South Florida, many are left with no guarantee that they’ll return to their jobs. Hundreds of laid-off housekeepers, cooks, bellmen, and banquet servers at the Diplomat Beach Resort gathered in front of the hotel on Friday morning for their right to return to work. As the Diplomat Beach Resort makes its plans to reopen, it has not committed to bring back 650 employees who have contributed decades of work to keep the hotel running.

“Workers were laid off through no fault of their own. The Diplomat, along with all hotels in Broward County, has a moral obligation to give workers the reassurance that once tourism comes back, their employees will get their jobs back,” said Wendi Walsh UNITE HERE Local 355 Secretary-Treasurer. “What you’re seeing today is a public demonstration that workers are ready to return to work.  The demand to Diplomat’s owner, Brookfield, is simple: As business returns, so should your long-term, loyal employees.”

Most of these workers are women and people of color who have lived and worked in South Florida for decades. Laid-off workers have joined with their Union, UNITE HERE Local 355, to fight for their right to return to their jobs.

“I’ve worked in the hospitality industry for over 40 years—this is what I love,” said Harry East Banquet Server at the Diplomat Beach Resort. “I canvassed in the primary and presidential elections because I knew that we needed to put people in power that support workers. Now, it’s time for us to see support from Broward Democrats to make sure the Diplomat calls us back. We’ve dedicated our lives to make the hotel what it is today, and they’ve tossed us aside like we meant nothing.”

While the tourism industry is coming back, its long-time workers are not. Diplomat hotel housekeepers, cooks, servers, and bellmen gathered today to demand that the hotel brings back their employees.


UNITE HERE Local 355 is a labor union that represents over 7,000 members in the hospitality industry working in hotels, casinos, restaurants, stadiums, and airports. Over 75% of its members are still out of work as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, down from a peak of 98%.