Travelers rejoice: Gone is a proposed agreement between Airbnb and organized labor that would likely have jacked up the prices of vacation rentals.
Under the much-discussed deal, Airbnb would have endorsed the Service Employees International Union’s $15 minimum wage fight. Furthermore, Airbnb would have urged homeowners to pay cleaners at least $15 an hour, referring them to housekeepers who were SEIU members.
The deal faltered after SEIU yielded to opposition from Unite Here, another union that represents hotel workers. The union has historically opposed Airbnb, claiming it kills hotel jobs.
Airbnb’s favorable consideration of the deal was most likely an attempt to gain political support from the powerful SEIU, even as it faces the threat of more regulation in Democrat-controlled cities.
And it’s good for consumers that Airbnb failed to reach a deal– those added cleaning expenses would have been passed on to travelers, driving up the cost of vacation rentals.
One of Airbnb’s competitive advantages has been cheap rental properties. From New York to L.A. , from Boston to Seattle, Airbnb rentals are much cheaper than hotels, reported travel-cost comparison site Busbud earlier this year.
The irony here for Unite Here: By making Airbnb more expensive, the deal may have actually helped hotels become more competitive.
— Jillian Kay Melchior writes for Heat Street and is a fellow for the Independent Women’s Forum and the Steamboat Institute.