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Mattress war punishes hotel housekeepers

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SAN FRANCISCO, Calif., Uruguay, Dec 19, 2005 (UPI via COMTEX) -- The guests love it but the so-called mattress war in which hotels compete to offer bigger, heavier and more comfortable beds is wearing out housekeepers.

The same beds that pamper travelers' backs play havoc with housekeepers, most of whom are women, who must wrestle with them everyday, the San Francisco Chronicle reports.

These workers also must contend with a huge array of pillows, duvet covers, down comforters, 300-thread-count sheets, shams, bed skirts, bolsters and bed scarves that need daily tending, says the report.

"The hardest for me is the duvet -- trying to change it, just one person," says one housekeeper. "And the mattress is too heavy. It makes my back hurt." She takes a pain killer and ices her arms after work each day.

A recent University of California study said three out of four hotel housekeepers experience "very severe" pain. Its author said: "Nobody should be working in conditions like that."

Critics say the housekeepers are forced to clean the same number of rooms per shift even as the beds grow ever bigger and more elaborate, requiring more time to change, the report said.


Copyright 2005 by United Press International

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