Housekeepers, Hotel Commonwealth agree to changes to keep work and rooms safe

Housekeepers at the Hotel Commonwealth in Boston’s Kenmore Square have reached an agreement with hotel management that will ease FullSizeRenderthe workload of housekeepers who attend to rooms with kitchenettes. Housekeepers at the hotel—which overlooks Fenway Park—are members of Boston’s UNITE HERE Local 26.

The union has negotiated contracts with 28 Boston-area hotels. The contracts provide protections for housekeepers to ensure that workload doesn’t lead to pain and injuries.

According to a 2006 survey of housekeepers by UNITE HERE, 91% of housekeepers surveyed said they experience workplace pain. Additional amenities are heralded by hotel guests, but can pose potential threats to housekeepers who race to do more in less time. The hotel, managed by Sage Hospitality, installed rooms with kitchenettes to better serve hotel guests who wish to cook.

Union leaders requested bargaining and the hotel came to an agreement that will allow housekeepers to be assigned less rooms if they need to clean a kitchenette room that has had a guest check-out. Housekeepers will clean the same number of rooms during days where a guest stays over. Housekeepers report that this will give them the time needed to thoroughly clean and sanitize the kitchens.