A new website called “Joey Quits” is providing an outlet for disgruntled hotel employees to air their grievances about bad bosses and unacceptable work conditions by sharing their stories through videos and written reports.
The website is inspired by Joey DeFrancesco’s videotaped dramatic departure from his job at the Providence Renaissance Hotel in Rhode Island in October, where he had worked for three and a half years.
“I was fighting back against working conditions there for a while and trying to organize a union,” DeFrancesco told ABCNews.com. “I was constantly butting heads with management. I knew if I was going to give them the pleasure of me leaving, I had to go out in a big way.”
In the video, DeFrancesco approaches his former boss with a brass marching band made up of his friends. He tells his boss he’s quitting and the band plays a triumphant song as he leaves the building and leaves behind a visibly furious boss.
“It was nerve-wracking, but well worth it,” DeFrancesco said.
Soon enough, his video had gone viral, garnering almost 3 million hits, and stories of other hotel workers’ personal experiences began to pour in.
“It was confirmation of what I kind of suspected, that these things are going on all over the country,” DeFrancesco said.
This week, DeFrancesco and his friends launched a “Joey Quits” tumblr where workers can share their stories.
“The goal is to try to hold the hotel industry accountable for what they are doing,” DeFrancesco said. “My video held my hotel accountable. My [former] managers are being a lot nicer. I’ve put Marriott on the defensive.”
In a statement to USA Today, the Marriott said the following:
“We take employee satisfaction very seriously as a company — creating a sense of community and pride within our hotels is a top priority. … While this is an unfortunate way for an employee to resign, we are confident that hotel management works closely with staff to continue to find ways to make the hotel a rewarding place to work for everyone.”
The site launched on Monday and has already posted several stories.
An anonymous worker from the Hilton Garden Inn in Fox Valley, Wis. wrote, “I work at a Hilton Garden Inn in Fox Valley, WI. I took the position after quitting a job that paid more because I thought it would be less stressful and allow me to deal with my college classes. I was very wrong.”
The various workers write about issues such as being over-worked with back-to-back shifts, managers stealing tips, ignored housekeeper injuries and disrespect for workers.
Everything on the website is in English and Spanish because DeFrancesco wants all workers to be able to share their stories and read other stories. They may expand to include other languages in the future.
DeFrancesco said he and his friends were shocked that their ambush went viral and garnered so much attention.
“We had absolutely no idea,” DeFrancesco said. “I thought I was just going to do something to tell off my boss one more time, to inspire, to make my co-workers laugh and it somehow struck a chord with people all over the world.”