As this article in Fortune reports, the Marriott Corporation acknowledges that the housekeepers at its hotels deserve greater recognition. Instead of acknowledging the contributions of these workers by increasing their salaries, its gesture of acknowledgment is to leave envelopes soliciting gratuities in guests’ rooms. Kudos to this business-oriented publication for calling out Marriott on its parsimony. Although I’m sure Maria Shriver and her organization, who have supported Marriott’s initiative, but also support an increase in the minimum wage and other progressive economic policies, mean well, I’d be happier if they pressured Marriott to increase housekeepers’ pay instead of assisting the employer to solicit tips on their behalf. The Fortune article said it best: “to a fatigued public living in an economic environment where corporate profits are at their highest level in at least 85 years and employee compensation is at its lowest level in 65 years, Marriott’s well-intentioned tip envelopes seem like yet another case in which a corporation is relying on consumers to pay workers’ wages instead of investing in employees directly.”
Kudos to the New York Daily News for staying on this story. If only a small part of the fiscal abuse it recounts is true, Mr. Galante should be in prison. However, the real damage fiscal abuse and waste cause is the eating away of trust and confidence in government, giving credence to the view of many that only the private sector can operate honestly and efficiently. While I contend that is not even close to being true, stories like this don’t help dispel the myth.
It’s hard enough to convince people of the worth of even honestly-run programs. When taxpayers feel they are being abused, they won’t even consider the merits. I can’t say that I would blame anyone who feels that way after reading this story.