Negotiations between Airbnb and the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) fell apart amid fierce backlash from other labor unions and housing activists across the country. SEIU plans to work with UNITE HERE, a union that represents hotel workers. “It is our clear understanding that SEIU will not have a deal with Airbnb to represent housekeeping services,” according to UNITE HERE spokeswoman Annemarie Strassel.
Opponents of Airbnb contend the company is accelerating gentrification by reducing the supply of available housing units for local residents. Airbnb’s offer included paying more local taxes, sharing data with municipalities, and cracking down on landlords who break rules. UNITE HERE and other critics argue Airbnb has allowed people to illegally turn their homes into hotels, which removes permanent housing from the market and reduces affordable housing options in cities. Partnering with a union would have been a PR victory for Airbnb, but would have done little to support low-wage workers, according to critics, who say the deal would have meant sending unionized labor into illegal hotels.