UNITE HERE Local 26 Holds Largest Hotel Worker Picket in Over a Decade, Joins International Contract Fight with Marriott, World’s Largest & Richest Hotel Chain

Track the action at #UNITEHERE, #1job

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.

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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@local26.org, Nicki Morris, nmorris@local26.org, 203-297-1681

Tufts University dining hall workers win union vote, officially join UNITE HERE Local 26

Tufts Win

BOSTON, MA—About 150 dining hall workers have joined UNITE HERE Local 26 after an overwhelming vote in favor of unionization: 127 to 19. Following the NLRB vote, Tufts University dining hall workers are members of UNITE HERE Local 26 and can begin negotiating their first contract with the university.

“It’s an incredible feeling to finally have our union,” said Trish O’Brien, 29-year veteran of Tufts Dining Services. “We stood strong together. We are the unseen and the unheard, but now we are going to be seen and heard.”

“My time at Tufts has been filled with job insecurity,” said dining hall worker, Tsering Ngodup who has been classified as a temp for over five years. “But this journey to a union has shown me that the Tufts community is behind us.”

Earlier this April, 500 students joined workers as they formally announced their union, demanding recognition from Tufts University. Since then, 77 student groups have joined a coalition backing the food service worker’s union.

“We are overjoyed,” said Andrew Jeffries, Architecture and Environmental Studies Junior at Tufts University. “I feel very proud to be part of Tufts’ campus at this moment.”

“Students will continue to show our support in upcoming contract negotiations,” said Emma Ishida, Sophomore in American Studies and Cognitive and Brain Sciences. “Dining hall workers do so much for us. We won’t stop until they get the respect they deserve.”

Tufts workers join the union that successfully struck Harvard for 22 days in 2016, and narrowly averted a strike at Northeastern in 2017.

“With this vote, Tufts dining hall workers have once again demonstrated their strength and determination. They join with Local 26 members at Harvard and Northeastern who have set a new standard in the industry,” said UNITE HERE Local 26 President Brian Lang. “Tufts dining hall workers deserve no less.”

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UNITE HERE Local 26 represents nearly 10,000 members working in the hotel, food service, and airport industries in Massachusetts and Rhode Island. 

 

For Immediate Release: April 3, 2018

Contact: Nicki Morris, nmorris@local26.org, 203-297-1681

Boston City Council President Wu Stands with Harvard Club of Boston Employees

Thank you Harvard alumni and Boston City Council President Michelle Wu for standing with employees of the Harvard Club of Boston last week.

Harvard and Ivy League alumni are needed to show support for workers who serve alumni at the Club. Sign today.

Michelle-Wu-Harvard-Club-web

Boston City Council President Michelle Wu stands with Harvard Club of Boston employees Juan Carlos Galdamez, Vidal Arevelo, Julio Rodriquez, and Manuel Lazo.

Religious & civic leaders: “End intimidation & surveillance at Wyndham Boston hotel”

Workers at the Wyndham hotel located across the street from Massachusetts General Hospital have been public with demands for stronger protection while cleaning rooms used by hospital patients.

The hotel settled with the National Labor Relations Board in December over worker complaints they’d faced surveillance and were offered money and benefits to stop organizing.

Rabbi Barbara Penzner of the Temple Hillel B’nai Torah synagogue, Father Philip C. Jacobs, and a representative of Boston City Councilor Ayanna Pressley returned to the Boston Wyndham hotel Thursday to speak with management about these concerns.

The hotel also faces proposed fines of $12,000 from OSHA for alleged violations related to worker safety.

The hotel is owned by Felcor, a Houston, Texas-based real estate investment trust. IMG_3572

 

 

Harvard Club Employees Protest Proposed Health Plan Changes

Members of on-campus activist organization Student Labor Action Movement joined UNITE HERE Local 26 members to rally outside the Harvard Club of Boston on Thursday evening in protest of proposed changes to employee health care plans, which they say would raise out-of-pocket costs for employees. Local 26 serves Boston’s hotel and food service workers and represents Harvard Club staff.