Land of Opportunity

February 20, 2007

Ana Ruiz I was really happy to hear the President talk about immigration reform in his State of the Union, and even happier to see the bipartisanship that seems to be coming together around this issue.

I recently stayed at our Harbor Beach Resort in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, and I got a departure card from Ana Ruiz.  Ana is a senior housekeeper who works on the upper floors of the hotel.  She's been with our company for 35 years.  She started out making beds, and she's still doing it, but she now supervises others and teaches them how to clean a room right.

Ana's done very well in our company.  She has made enough money to send her three children to college, and her children have done extremely well.  Her daughter works at another hotel company as one of the senior financial executives.  She has two sons working for Marriott, one as a senior sales executive at the Wardman Park hotel here in Washington, and the other one works in our Fort Lauderdale Renaissance Hotel.  So her family has done well because she's done well.  She's been a great contributor all these years.

But, she comes from south of the border.  At Marriott we firmly believe that the diversity of our workforce makes us great because it's a reflection of our ever-diversifying global customer base.  We value our associates - it doesn't really matter where they're born.  We pay a competitive wage and we offer good benefits and we've always played by the rules.  And yet we really can't find enough people to work in many of our hotels.

Employment levels in America are at an all-time high and the labor shortage in the hospitality and hotel industry is very critical.  Even the most cautious economic forecasts state that our industry will need an estimated 300,000 additional workers in the next eight years.  We try awful hard to make sure the workers we hire have the proper documents, but with forgeries or sharing of papers you just can't be 100 percent sure.

That's why we need a sensible and comprehensive approach to immigration reform.  It will balance our nation's security needs and our economic wellbeing.  It must recognize the contributions of and the need for millions of immigrants in our country.  After all, aren't we all immigrants?

At Marriott, we'd like to see a solution that secures the border, of course, and creates a clear, legal channel by which employers can get the seasonal and permanent labor they need, both now and in the future.  We want a solution that provides, outside of deportation or amnesty, a deal with undocumented workers already here.  Removing 12 million undocumented workers from our economy with near full employment would be an absolute disaster for us.  We'd like to see a fast, efficient and accurate employment verification system so when we hire someone, we know they are legal.

Like most employers, we at Marriott value our immigrant workforce and we couldn't survive without them.  And most immigrants that have come here illegally have done so, not because they have negative intentions, but because the current system just doesn't work.  They came here for opportunity, not to do us harm.  And opportunity is the backbone of who we are as a company and who we all are as Americans.

That's how we'll keep Marriott on the move.

Land of Opportunity


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Mr. 1750 K Street
Mr Marriott- Iagree with you in the fact that our immigrant workforce should valued and recognized for their contribution to the successes of the American Economy. In college, I volunteered tutoring children of immigrants who were not able to help with their children's homework in English. During that time, I was amazed to see how these parents made sure these children never missed one tutoring session and paid close attention to their children's grades. They understood the importance of education. For them, seeing their children succeed was the biggest part of the American dream. I was so happy to be part of it...

What I think Teresa is trying to say is Hotels (Not just Marriott) tend to hire Pretty People. Have ever walked up to a front desk and noticed the person. You never see an un attractive front desk agent, Hotels would rather have people look like Miss America, then qualified people. The Qualified people are being passed over for Miss America.

Hi Mr. Marriott, you mentioned many people dont want to work at the hotel level, its not that they dont want to to work at your hotel. It's the hiring practices of many of your fine hotels that are keeping them from the job. Hotels are setting to high of standerd and only hire people they consider there standered, most of your hotels will not hire people with disablities for posistios they are perfectly capable of doing simply because they feel they are not that hotels standered.

i agree there needs to be a better LAWFUL process for immigration. But what many employers disregard is that the tax payer has to pay for everything illegals get for free,,,,education,healthcare at the ER etc. This countries jails
are 27% illegal criminals,,,,,we pay for that too.

Dear Bill,
that was a nice blog of yours. As a present student in Hotel and restaurant mgt course, i am so challenged about it. it inspires me that a big person like you treats everyone in your company equally and sets advancements for all too.that was so nice. more power.

Mr. Marriott,
I echo Mr. Purcell's comments. I am a steel fabricator in Phoenix, AZ and we have a great deal of trouble finding fitters and welders. We're paying 18-20 dollars per hour and we cant get any applicants. The fact is that the native born population is being educated out of these jobs by going to college in increasing numbers. We are also approaching a break-even population which will leave us with many native born people who are trained to be managers, but with nobody to manage. We need a comprehensive solution that legalizes our current workforce and allows for a market based guest worker program. I urge you to go to our website at www.azeir.org. We in Arizona are organizing a coalition of AZ employers who would like to see immigration reform happen in the next 6-7 months in this 110th Congress. I would be very interested in talking with you if you're interested in getting involved. The work that we are doing here will be replicated throughout the country. I can be reached via email at [email protected] or by cell phone at 202-330-3054. Thank you for your time and thank you even more for speaking out.
Sincerely,
Jake Adams

Dear Mr. Marriott,
I enjoyed reading this post. It's clear that you are espousing a compassionate solution to the immigrant issue. And, that is greatly appreciated!
However, I am unclear on a term you used. If you wouldn't mind clarifying, I would be much obliged. What exactly does outside of deportation or amnesty mean? What do you mean by deportation, and especially, amnesty?
All the best,
Reginald

Dear Bill,
Always have enjoyed, and learned from,hearing / reading your thoughts.I particularly liked the parameters for a just solution, "without deportation or amnesty".
One editorial note, in paragraph 5, I think it shsould read "employment is at an all time high".
Best Regards to you and your family.
Tom Purcell 1979-1986