The Student Labor Action Movement held a celebration Tuesday afternoon in response to Harvard’s recent decision not to reinvest in HEI Hotels & Resorts, a hotel chain that has come under fire for repeated allegations of failure to comply with labor regulations.
“One of the things that can tell you the economy has gotten better is to look up and see cranes in the sky.”
Tracy Parks, a member of the Boston Workers Alliance and Laborers’ Local 151, told me that recently. And, it is not just cranes in the sky, but also shovels in the ground. On a busy street, you no longer just see suits, you notice more hard hats and lunch boxes. These are pictures of hope, the belief that soon new enterprises will fill buildings, people will be able to enjoy renewed stability, and the city will have a vibrant economy again.
Hotel workers picketed outside the Hilton Boston Downtown in the Financial District yesterday, marching and chanting to protest what organizers say is an anti-union campaign being conducted by hotel management.
The employees recently notified management that they wanted to form a union. Since then, according to the head of the local hospitality workers union, managers have been meeting with workers to discourage them from organizing.
The City of Cambridge, Mass., has moved to create an ordinance that will effectively bar hotels from outsourcing in-house jobs, the first ban of its kind in the country.
At a recent installment of “Cocktail Wars,’’ a bartending competition on the Boston nightlife circuit, hotel worker Melissa Godfrey glanced around the room and noted how many people she knew from union organizing work. Over there, a young woman who works at the W Boston. Up there, a bartender from KO Prime, the swank steakhouse at Nine Zero.
“Most of the people in the room were union,’’ she said.