Everett’s Casino Workers Demand the Same Pay and Benefits as Boston-Area Union Hospitality Workers; Strike Authorization Vote to be Called by the End of June if Agreement is Not Reached
Boston, MA — Today hundreds of Encore Boston Harbor workers joined a rally and picketed along the sidewalk at the casino’s main entrance on Broadway in Everett, MA. The rally participants wore red shirts, chanted, and beat bucket drums for over an hour. They held up signs and banners that read “5-Star Contract for Encore Workers!”
The Encore workers are members of UNITE HERE Local 26 and the International Brotherhood of Teamsters Local 25. They were joined by leaders and members from both unions, and by members of UNITE HERE Culinary Union Local 226 from Las Vegas. Casino workers and union leaders gave speeches from a stage on the grass.
The workers’ first union contract expired on April 19, 2023. They have been negotiating their second contract for months but have failed to come to an agreement on any of the core issues, including parity wages and standard union benefits that include a pension plan and housing loans.
Before Encore Boston Harbor opened in 2019, they promised to bring great jobs to the residents of Everett and nearby towns. Instead, the casino workers are paid less and receive fewer benefits than union workers who work at other Boston-area hotels. Durga Nepal, a Room Attendant who used to work at InterContinental Boston, said: “I applied for a job at Encore because it is closer to my home. I thought Encore would pay us the same, or even more than the InterContinental. Instead, I got a pay cut! I feel upset, because we are doing the same jobs, but for less money.”
Glenda Garcia, an overnight Utility Porter in the Public Areas Department, said: “Encore has made so much money in Everett. It’s time to fulfill their promises of higher salaries and Five-Star treatment for the workers. We deserve Five-Star Pay and Five-Star Benefits!”
UNITE HERE Local 26 President Carlos Aramayo said there is no reason Encore Boston Harbor workers should be paid less and have fewer benefits. “We are fighting for parity with our contracts downtown. Encore has made record profits and the workers want their fair share. They deserve higher wages, better benefits, and long-term job security.”
At the rally, Aramayo announced that a strike authorization vote will be called by the end of June if the union contract is not settled.
Contact: Lynette Ng, [email protected], 413-275-8195
UNITE HERE Local 26 represents workers in the hospitality industries of Massachusetts and Rhode Island. Our members work in Boston and Providence’s best hotels, restaurants, and university dining halls in addition to the Boston Convention Centers, Fenway Park, and Logan International Airport. We clean hotel rooms, greet guests, and prepare and serve food for hundreds of thousands of travelers to Boston and the northeast. UNITE HERE is the hospitality workers’ union in the U.S. and Canada, representing over 300,000 workers in hotels, gaming, restaurants and food service, airports, and more.
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See the website: onejob.org
BOSTON, MA – Today hundreds of UNITE HERE Local 26 workers took to the streets of downtown Boston, picketing 7 Marriott operated hotels, including the W, Westin Boston Waterfront, Aloft, Element, Renaissance, Ritz Carlton, culminating in a major picket and rally in front of the Sheraton Boston. After months of negotiations, these Marriott hotels are ten days past their contract expiration date.
As Boston Local 26 members who work as Marriott hotel housekeepers, dishwashers, cooks, and bellmen mobilized by the hundreds in a high profile picket in front of the Sheraton Boston, UNITE HERE Marriott workers in cities across North America simultaneously led major demonstrations. Workers held signs and banners that read “One Job Should Be Enough.”
Hotel workers are calling on Marriott to use its leadership in the global hotel industry to create hospitality jobs that are enough to live on in Boston, as workers welcome guests and travelers to a city they can’t afford to live in.
Luis Castro, a barback at the Westin Boston Waterfront said, “I’ve been forced to move away from the city numerous times to keep up with expenses in the past 12 years I’ve worked for Marriott. Every time I end up further and further from the city. Now I live all the way in Stoughton to commute to my job but I’m scared that my paycheck won’t keep up with rent there either. I keep trying to find somewhere I’m not priced out of. I joined our picket lines today because it’s unfair that as Marriott is doing so well while I cannot afford to live in the city where I serve guests every day.”
In addition to demanding jobs that help workers survive spiraling housing and living costs, workers will demand Marriott protect their ability to serve guests, use technology to innovate not cut human service, and offer stronger safety protections for women at work, including protection from sexual harassment.
And for many Local 26 members, a key issue will be the ability to retire with dignity. “I have worked as a housekeeper for 30 years. I am 71 years old, but I still cannot afford to retire. I want to enjoy my life with my husband and grandchildren,” said Sheraton Boston housekeeper Mei Leung. “Marriott is the largest hotel chain in the world. For all I have done to make them profitable, I should not have to work until I die.”
“Over the lifetime of our union, we have wrestled with the hotel industry to help them find their humanity,” said UNITE HERE Local 26 President Brian Lang. “If Marriott truly values our work, they will guarantee jobs which provide enough to sustain a family in the city where we work; that provide enough for a secure and safe workplace no matter our gender, race, immigration status or sexual orientation; that provide enough so that after a lifetime of work we can retire without going into poverty. The hospitality industry is the fastest growing sector in Massachusetts. As the biggest and wealthiest hotel company in the world and largest hotel operator in downtown Boston, Marriott should lead the way for the entire hotel industry and provide jobs that are enough.”
Other Marriott worker actions today included marches, rallies and civil disobedience in Honolulu, San Francisco, Seattle, San Diego, and Philadelphia. Every day, UNITE HERE members provide customers with the exceptional guest experiences that have helped propel Marriott to reach an astounding $47 billion market capitalization with 1.2 million rooms worldwide.
UNITE HERE Local 26 is the hospitality workers’ union and represents over 10,000 members working in the hotel, food service, and airport industries in Boston and Rhode Island.
UNITE HERE represents over 270,000 members working in the hotel, gaming, food service, and airport industries across the US and Canada. Learn more at www.unitehere.org.
For Immediate Release: June 27, 2018
Contact: Tiffany Ten Eyck, 313-515-1807, tteneyck@