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Just when you thought the plutocratic profiteers running America's exploitative, low-wage economy couldn't get any more clueless, self-serving, pious, and mingy – along comes Lady Maria of Marriott, magnanimously saying: "Let them eat tips."

Lady Maria Shriver

Marriott is the corporate domain of the Royal Marriott Dynasty that supports the political notion that America is divided between a few noble "Makers" (like them) and a mass of "Takers" (like you and me). They own 4,000 hotels with 690,000 rooms in 78 countries, operating under 18 different brand names (ranging from plebeian chains like Fairfield Inn to the luxury Ritz-Carlton resorts), hauling in nearly $13 billion in revenue last year.

Yet, the extravagantly rich Marriott domain is a miserly employer that fattens its profits by paying its hard-working housekeepers poverty-level wages of roughly $8.32 an hour. So, enter Lady Maria Shriver, grandly offering to boost the pay of Marriott's 22,000 North American housekeepers. A pay raise, perhaps? Oh, tut-tut – the moneyed elites prefer charitable gestures to straightforward populist remedies.

So, Shriver's foundation has "partnered" with the far-flung hotel empire to reduce its low-wage housekeepers to begging for alms from Marriott customers. The corporate giant has adopted Shriver's noblesse oblige program (gaily titled "The Envelope Please") by putting an envelope in each room asking customers to subsidize its employees' wages with tips. The envelope even scolds customers, saying that, "The hard work [of room attendants] is many times overlooked when it comes to tipping."

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Hello – Marriott is the one deliberately overlooking the hard work of its housekeepers. This is a disgraceful and embarrassing exercise in corporate feudalism. Come on, Marriott – stop playing Lord of the Manor and just pay a decent wage!

jim hightower

Jim Hightower
America's #1 Populist