That Time When It Almost Became Law To Use Fitted Sheets In Hotels

A while back, I wrote an article about why hotels don’t use fitted sheets. During my research, I discovered there actually are several legitimate reasons why most hotels use flat sheets.

Now, I won’t say that all hotels use flat sheets – after that article went to press, one of our readers said that that two Marriott she recently stay at both used fitted sheets. And the Best Western I stayed at in Rhode Island not long ago also had fitted sheets.

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Really crappy pic of my Best Western fitted sheets // PC: Me

But did you know that a decade or so ago, a bill was proposed that, had it passed, it would have ensured that ALL sheets in hotel rooms, at least in California, would have been fitted?

In 2011, a bill was proposed in California that would requite fitted sheets in hotel rooms. It came about in an attempt to protect hotel housekeepers, who were complaining of back injuries by having to lift mattresses. It was introduced as California Senate Bill 432.

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Hotel housekeeper unions, of course, loved the bill. Members of the California Hotel and Lodging Association? Not so much. They said to comply with the bill would cost them between $30 million and $50 million due to have to buy all new sheets. Members also argued that if back injuries were such a big problem, OSHA (the Occupational Safety & Health Administration – a federal government entity to assure safe and healthful conditions in the workplace) would have been involved. They weren’t.

During testimony before the California State Assembly Committee, Kevin Schwalb, the representative from the Textile Rental Services Association warned about the costs that textile services operators would incur if the bill passed, and the likely negative outcomes for the state’s economy. Their representative also told the committee that the proposed measure would harm California’s natural resources and competitiveness, and could also threaten jobs in the state’s textile services industry.

Expenses this legislation would have required would force laundries to reduce their workforces, Schwalb continued, which consisted of “union and nonunion positions that have been some of our nation’s most stable employment opportunities because in a service industry like textile services, such jobs cannot be shipped overseas.”

The bill was pulled not long after that, and to this day, most hotels in California (well, and everywhere else, too) still use flat sheets.

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This post first appeared on Your Mileage May Vary

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