Maria has worked at the DoubleTree by Hilton hotel for the past 21 years, most recently as a banquet captain for events hosted at the hotel. During her time at the DoubleTree, Maria’s co-workers organized together and formed a union with UNITE HERE Local 19. She became a committee member in the union, attending meetings, organizing actions, and keeping her co-workers informed.
When the COVID-19 crisis began and businesses closed their doors, Maria was abruptly laid off along with many other hospitality workers. While Maria has received unemployment benefits, it’s simply not enough to make ends meet. Despite her family's difficulties, Maria wants people to know that for undocumented workers who cannot receive these benefits, the reality has been even worse.
Now, Maria is joining the Essential Workers Council in order to represent other hospitality workers — especially those that have been intimidated to believe they don’t have a voice on the job or the right to demand the things they deserve.
Maria has lived in San José since immigrating 25 years ago. She lives with her husband and two children. Her oldest son is currently attending university in Oregon.