Employees of Harvard-Owned DoubleTree Suites Consider Joining Union

A delegation of workers at the Harvard-owned DoubleTree Suites by Hilton Hotel Boston presented hotel management with a petition Monday delcaring worker intentions to start the process of considering unionization.

The petition, which was signed by a majority of the hotel’s workers, outlines their desire to be able to decide without the influence of hotel management whether or not to join UNITE HERE! Local 26—the same union that represents Harvard’s dining hall workers.

Local 26 members at 10 Boston hotels will hold strike vote on Tuesday

Here’s a typical union tactic: Complain about the members’ pay levels or working conditions, with a goal of engendering the public’s sympathy.

But Brian Lang, president of Unite Here Local 26, is taking a different approach with his union’s latest contract negotiations. Lang knows his members make a decent living wage. He just wants to keep it that way.

Local 26 represents more than 4,000 hotel workers among 27 hotels in the Boston area. Contracts for 24 of those hotels — those within Boston’s city limits — expired at the end of February. So far, Lang says the union has new five-year contracts lined up for workers at 14 of the 24 hotels. He says the contracts’ parameters —such as a 4-percent annual increase in pay — stay the same among all the participating hotels, even though only some are negotiating together as a group.

Will Labor Unions Survive?

Listen to WBUR Radio Podcast with Brian Lang, President of Unite Here!, the hospitality workers union and Professor Thomas Kochan, Co-Director of the Institute of Work and Employment Research at MIT’s Sloan School of Management.

Click on the title above to listen

A Call for Change in Freddie Mac Foreclosure Policy

Members of the Hospitality Workers Union, Local 26, join City Life/Vida Urbana in calling for a change of policy by Freddie Mac to help more people who lost their homes to foreclosure. Report for BNN News aired January 31, 2012 on the Boston Neighborhood Network.

A Call for Change in Freddie Mac Foreclosure Policy from Chris Lovett on Vimeo.

Unions gained ground in Bay State last year

Union representation rose significantly in Massachusetts last year and bucked an ongoing national decline, thanks in part to aggressive organizing in the health care and hospitality sectors.

The percentage of the state’s workforce represented by a union rose to 16.2 percent in 2012 from 15.4 percent in 2011, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Meanwhile, total union representation nationwide dropped to 12.5 percent in 2012, down from 13 percent in the previous year. The figures include union members as well as other people whose jobs are covered by unions.