Hotel Workers Open Strike Headquarters in Downtown Boston, Prepare for Potential Strike of Marriott Hotels

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: September 26, 2018

Hotel Workers Open Strike Headquarters in Downtown Boston
Workers test bullhorns, staple picket signs, and sign up for picket lines in preparation for a potential strike at Marriott hotels

Boston, MA—This week UNITE HERE Local 26 hotel workers are signing up for shifts on strike picket lines, making hundreds of picket signs, and testing bullhorns for a potential strike of the richest hotel company in the world.

On September 12th more than 1,000 Local 26 hotel workers voted to authorize the Union bargaining committee to call strikes at 8 Boston Marriott hotels – Aloft Boston Seaport District, Element Boston Seaport District, W Hotel Boston, Westin Boston Waterfront, Westin Copley Place, Renaissance Boston Waterfront Hotel, the Ritz-Carlton Boston, and the Sheraton Boston. Months of negotiations, actions, and strikes authorization votes by more than 8,000 Marriott workers in Boston, San Francisco, Detroit, Seattle, San Jose, San Diego, Oakland, Honolulu, and Maui have yet to yield a settlement that provides jobs that are enough to live on.

Marriott, a company worth $45 billion, spent $1.9 billion on repurchasing its own company shares through August 6 of this year—a sum so great that every employee worldwide would receive $10,734 if shared with workers. Boston hotel workers are calling on Marriott to use its billions to invest in the people who make their hotels so profitable. Workers are demanding the chance to live in Boston, support a family, and retire with dignity by working one job. In addition, workers are demanding greater job and safety protections, including advanced notice on technological advances, and progressive changes to the company’s confusing “Your choice” / “Make a Green Choice” program that offers guests points while keeping housekeepers out of work or in pain.

Sheraton Boston housekeeper Jissely Paulino said, “I have a family to take care of. Marriott has been making record profits while I struggle to get enough hours to cover my rent, bills, and childcare. This is a sacrifice I am willing to make for my family’s future. Should we strike, my coworkers and I will be on the picket line until we win.”

Local 26 has been bargaining with Marriott for contracts covering 1,800 workers since March. Contract negotiations will impact 5,000 hotel workers in Boston. The last time Local 26 workers were on strike in Massachusetts was in October 2016 when Harvard dining services workers stayed out for 22 days against the richest university in the world.

UNITE HERE Local 26 President Brian Lang said, “If there is a hotel strike in Boston, it will be Marriott’s failing. Marriott is the richest hotel company on the face of the earth. It’s about time corporate executives respect the work we put in every day that makes Marriott billions. Our demand is simple: one job should be enough.”

Local 26 is encouraging Massachusetts residents, elected officials, political candidates, and tourists to support workers by not patronizing hotels in case there is a labor dispute. In an event of a strike, please do not cross picket lines. UNITE HERE maintains MarriottTravelAlert.org, a service for customers of Marriott hotels who need to know whether labor disputes could affect their travel or event plans.

Available for comment: Marriott hotel workers including room attendants, cooks, bartenders, bellmen, food and beverage servers, dishwashers, and more are available for interviews over the phone.

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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.

Contact: Tiffany Ten Eyck, 313-515 1807 tteneyck@local26.org

With 96% Voting Yes, Boston Marriott Hotel Workers Vote to Strike

BOSTONMore 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.”

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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.

Boston Hotel Workers Announce Strike Vote Set for September 12

Track the action at #1job
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

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.