Boston Hotel Workers Announce Strike Vote Set for September 12

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See the website: onejob.org

BOSTON, MA – Today on Labor’s traditional sleepy “day off”, 22 UNITE HERE Local 26 members and President Brian Lang risked arrested in front of the Westin Copley by participating in a peaceful sit-down civil disobedience, followed by a march to the Sheraton Boston where they announced a strike authorization vote set for September 12.  Should workers vote to authorize a strike, a strike could be called at any moment.

The civil disobedience and call for a strike vote come at the official end of a summer full of negotiations with Marriott for contracts covering 1,800 workers. Contract negotiations will ultimately impact 5,000 hotel workers and could impact almost 11,000 hotel rooms. Picket lines have continued to pop up at Marriott hotels across the city, which include the W, Westin Boston Waterfront, Aloft, Element, Renaissance, Ritz Carlton, and the Sheraton Boston.

“Our members make Boston’s hotels run and we are not afraid to shut them down if we have to,” said UNITE HERE Local 26 President Brian Lang. “It took a strike at Harvard. It almost took a strike at Northeastern. These days, workers aren’t afraid of a little chaos if that’s what it takes to get executives to listen. Marriott is the richest hotel company on the planet yet they’re offering hotel workers crumbs. Marriott seems to have forgotten who makes them their billions. We are here to remind them,” he said.

All summer Marriott workers have been calling on their employer to use their leadership in the global hotel industry to do more for hotel workers. Worldwide, hotel workers work multiple jobs and struggle to live in the cities where they work, raise their families, and retire with dignity and security. Workers have told Marriott for months: One Job Should Be Enough.

Carlos Da Veiga has worked as a houseman at the Sheraton Boston for more than 20 years. “I have lived in Dorchester for 25 years, but with rising housing costs, my family and I are worried we will not be able to remain much longer. The hotel industry is raking in cash here in Boston and around the world, so I know Marriott can provide a higher standard for us. We are ready to do whatever it takes, including a strike.”

In addition to demanding jobs that help workers survive spiraling housing and living costs, workers have demanded Marriott adopt innovative technology that keeps workers and their jobs safe, and offer stronger protections for safety at work.

Sorinelda Pabon, Local 26 housekeeper at the Westin Boston Waterfront for 9 years says she will vote to strike to get the company to do something about the “green choice” program that pays guests points for denying housekeeping, as reported in the Boston Globe“I lay with the phone next to my pillow. I don’t know the next time I will be called in for work and no longer have a set schedule. I am working fewer hours, but I also have no way to schedule appointments or make time for my family. I am voting to strike because I want Marriott executives to understand that they are harming housekeepers like me with this program.”

UNITE HERE members and their service have helped propel Marriott to reach an astounding $42 billion market capitalization with 1.2 million rooms worldwide.

Other Marriott worker actions today included marches, rallies and civil disobedience in Honolulu, San Francisco, Seattle, San Diego, and Baltimore in efforts to reach the top executives of the company.

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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.  Learn more at www.local26.org

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.

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

Good jobs without a degree? Boston’s $3 million test

Graduates who are hired at unionized hotels – nearly 6 in 10 in the Boston area – typically start on $18 or more an hour, nearly double the state $10 minimum wage, plus union benefits that include family health plans and housing loans.

We’re talking about an industry that’s incredibly profitable. It’s expanding and investing here. Well, you’re coming to Boston. Let’s see you share the wealth,” he says.

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

 

 

Bay State Banner: Grant provides training funds for hotels, construction

A recent $3 million grant from the federal government will allow Boston to double the amount of women and people of color it helps train for jobs in the construction and hospitality industries, to about 400 over the next five years.