BOSTON—More than 1,000 UNITE HERE Local 26 hotel workers have voted to authorize a strike at eight Boston Marriott hotels—the W, Westin Copley, Westin Boston Waterfront, Renaissance, Ritz Carlton, Sheraton Boston, Aloft, and Element hotels. With overwhelming support to strike, the bargaining committee can now call a strike at any time. This news comes two days after Marriott employees of Hawaii’s UNITE HERE Local 5 authorized a strike with a 95% vote, covering 3,500 employees in Honolulu and Maui. More strike votes will follow this week in San Francisco, San Jose, and Seattle, with more to be announced.
Although Marriott is the leading hotel employer in Boston and the biggest and most profitable hotel company in the world, months of bargaining have transpired without a deal.
Hotel workers are saying that One Job Should Be Enough – to live in the city they work in, raise a family, and retire with dignity. This includes relief for housekeepers from unsafe working conditions created by the so-called “Green Choice” program, and an equal seat at the table to decide how technology, which will affect the nature of work in hotels for years to come, is introduced.
Boston hotel workers have been in negotiations with Marriott for contracts covering more than 1,800 workers since March. Contract negotiations will ultimately impact 5,000 hotel workers.
Juan Medina, a houseman at the Westin Boston Waterfront, says he is ready to strike. “I’ve given everything to this hotel and it’s still not enough. Because of the Green Choice program, housekeepers and housemen like myself are getting less work. And when we do come into work, there are not enough people on the schedule. The rooms are also harder to clean because they have not been touched in 3 days. I voted to strike today because I work for Marriott, the richest hotel company in the world and I don’t have enough to support my family, and feel safe and respected at work.”
UNITE HERE Local 26 President Brian Lang says, “Local 26 hotel workers have spoken powerfully today. Marriott has made record profits off our work and they throw pennies at us. If they don’t get off the dime there will be a strike and it will be on their hands.”
UNITE HERE Local 26 is the hospitality workers’ union and represents 10,000 members working in the hotel, food service, gaming and airport industries in Boston and Rhode Island. Learn more at www.local26.org
UNITE HERE represent 270,000 members working in the hotel, gaming, food service, and airport industries across the US and Canada. Learn more at www.unitehere.org.