Tufts Dining Hall Workers Announce Strike Authorization Vote

For Immediate Release: March 5, 2018

Tufts Dining Hall Workers Announce Strike Authorization Vote

 Overwhelming majority of workers pledge to VOTE YES to strike

 

MEDFORD, MA Surrounded by hundreds of UNITE HERE Local 26 dining hall workers, hotel workers, and Tufts students, Tufts University dining hall workers announced they will be holding a strike vote on March 14. After eight months of negotiations, an overwhelming majority of dining hall workers have pledged to VOTE YES to strike, taking the next step to win their first union contract.

 

In April 2018, Tufts University dining hall workers formed their union and joined UNITE HERE Local 26 with an overwhelming majority voting in favor in their National Labor Relations Board election. Workers are demanding equal treatment of all Tufts dining hall workers and equal terms with dining hall contracts throughout Boston. Tufts University has historically used a “temporary” worker classification that prevents nearly a third of dining hall workers from qualifying for the same wages and benefits as “full-time” classified workers, despite working full-time schedules and with comparable job duties. Many have remained in this “temp” position for years on end.

 

Last Thursday, Somerville City Council voted unanimously in support of a resolution backing Tufts dining hall workers and their demands to be treated equally with other Boston university food service workers. Over the past ten years, UNITE HERE Local 26 dining hall workers in Boston have transformed the industry from part-time, poverty jobs into sustainable careers that support families and communities. Since 2011, food service workers at schools like Northeastern University, Simmons College, and Lesley University, have joined Local 26 and won affordable healthcare, meaningful wage increases and scheduling protections.

 

“I currently pay over $800 a month for family healthcare. I take care of my 2-year-old son, my partner and myself,” said Lucson Aime, a cook at Tufts University for over seven years. “We can no longer afford daycare because after paying our healthcare costs, there is nothing to cover childcare. My coworkers and I should not be forced to choose between healthcare and daycare for our kids. We should be able to pay for both, and more, while working for one of the richest universities in Massachusetts.”

Tufts workers are encouraged by the successful Marriott Strike of 2018, where workers at seven Marriott-operated hotels in Boston went on strike for 46 days winning landmark gains.

 

In October 2016, Local 26 Harvard dining services workers went on strike for 22 days, the first strike on Harvard’s campus in over 30 years. The following year, Northeastern University dining hall workers won their contract after a strike was averted.

 

UNITE HERE Local 26 President Brian Lang said, “We call on Tufts Administration to recognize the urgency of this moment. We will not back down from the life-changing contract we seek at Tufts University.”

 

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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.

46 DAY BOSTON MARRIOTT HOTEL STRIKE IS OVER

UNITE HERE Local 26 hotel workers ratify historic agreement with Marriott and will return to work

 

Boston, MA—The all-seasons strike of Boston hotel workers is over after strikers overwhelmingly voted to ratify a new contract with Marriott on Saturday. The 46-day strike, which was the longest and largest hotel worker strike in Boston’s history, led to the richest and most economically progressive contract in Local 26 history.

 

Hotel workers rallied around the slogan “One Job Should Be Enough” and called on Marriott, the wealthiest and largest hotel corporation in the world, to show leadership in providing more stable and secure jobs for hotel workers. Today’s agreement provides historic job security protections along with a wage and benefits package that significantly raises the standard for hotel workers struggling to survive in one of the most expensive cities in the U.S.

 

UNITE HERE Local 26 President Brian Lang said:

“This victory is a testament to our members’ strength and tenacity. Hotel workers stood strong for more than six weeks in the wind, the rain, and the snow, up against the largest hotel company in the world. It was a hard fought victory, but in the end Marriott showed leadership and listened to our members’ concerns. From Day 1, we’ve encouraged Marriott to use their leadership in the hotel industry to make jobs in their hotels enough to live on, and today’s settlement goes a long way for Boston workers. Now we expect the rest of the hotel industry to follow that leadership and settle new agreements for the thousands of hotel workers with expired contracts across Boston and Cambridge.”

 

Hotel workers gained the support of Bostonians whose donations allowed strikers to run a strike assistance program to feed and support the most vulnerable strikers as rent and utilities became due. Strikers were also buoyed by customers and influencers who refused to cross picket lines—including Boston Mayor Marty Walsh and Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker. Boston City Council passed a resolution calling all city employees to not patronize hotels while workers were on strike.

 

Further details of the contract will be shared after the more than 5,000 Marriott workers still on strike in San Francisco and Hawaii reach agreements and end their strikes. Strikes at Marriott hotels ended with ratifications previously in San Diego, San Jose, Oakland, and Detroit.

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UNITE HERE Local 26 is the hospitality workers’ union and represents more than 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

 

BOSTON MARRIOTT HOTEL WORKERS ON STRIKE

For Immediate Release: October 3, 2018

As of 5:00AM UNITE HERE Local 26 hotel workers are on strike at 7 Marriott hotels in Boston
Historic strike at the biggest hotel employer in Boston
Workers say: “One Job Should Be Enough” to wealthiest hotel company in the world

What: UNITE HERE Local 26 hotel workers from doormen to housekeepers are on strike at 7 downtown Boston hotels, all operated by Marriott International.
When: October 3rd, 2018, 6:00AM
Where: Sheraton Boston by Marriott, 39 Dalton St, Boston, MA 02199
Who: UNITE HERE Local 26 hotel workers including housekeepers, cooks, bartenders, bellmen, food and beverage servers, dishwashers, along with UNITE HERE Local 26 President, Brian Lang will be available for comment at the Sheraton Boston.

Why: Over 1,500 Marriott hotel workers in Boston are on strike. They have traded in their mops, trays, and uniforms for picket signs and drums. Workers walked out at seven Marriott-operated hotels today, including the Aloft Boston Seaport District, the Element Boston Seaport District, the Ritz-Carlton Boston, the Sheraton Boston, the W Hotel Boston, the Westin Boston Waterfront, and the Westin Copley Place. This is the first hotel strike in Boston’s history. The last time Local 26 workers went on strike was at Harvard in October 2016, when dining hall workers walked out for 22 days and successfully settled a contract with the world’s richest university.
Hotel workers called for a strike after Marriott failed meet workers’ modest demand that One Job Should Be Enough, despite months of negotiations.
“I am striking because I have to work three jobs to try and cover all my family’s expenses,” said Brooke Melanson, a bartender at the Westin Boston Waterfront. “Just like any parent, I want time with my children to see them grow up. We hear all the time how well Marriott is doing. We want Marriott to recognize our contribution to their success.”
Marriott workers want jobs that allow them to live in Boston. They want to afford their rent, provide for their families, and retire with dignity. They want to work in safe conditions and have job security, including a say in how new technologies are introduced to the hospitality industry.
“Marriott has forced this strike. After 5 years of record profits and more than 6 months of contract talks Marriott still doesn’t get it,” said UNITE HERE Local 26 President Brian Lang. “It’s our work that creates the great experience for the hotel guests. We are the reason that they keep coming back. Our demand is modest and fair, One Job Should be Enough.”
Local 26 is asking the public to not cross picket lines by not patronizing any Marriott hotels while where workers are on strike. UNITE HERE maintains MarriottTravelAlert.org, a service that informs Marriott hotel customers of labor disputes.
Marriott faces potential strikes in San Francisco, Detroit, Seattle, San Jose, San Diego, Oakland, and Hawaii, as thousands of workers are demanding that One Job Should Be Enough.
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UNITE HERE Local 26 is the hospitality workers’ union and represents more than 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
Twitter: @unitehere26 #1job #MarriottStrike

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

UNITE HERE Local 26 Endorses Ayanna Pressley for Congress

IMG_0394UNITE HERE Local 26, the Boston-area hotel and food workers union, today endorsed Ayanna Pressley for the 7th Congressional District of Massachusetts. Our nearly 10,000-member union is one of the most diverse and politically active organizations in the City of Boston, representing workers in the hospitality industry across the city. The announcement was made at a union meeting where members discussed their participation in the commemoration of the 50th anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King’s assassination earlier this month. Twenty-six members of Local 26 participated in the Memphis March and Rally on April 4th.

“The hardworking men and women of UNITE HERE Local 26 keep our region’s economy moving, and I’m absolutely thrilled to have their endorsement. Too often, their workers are an invisible part of our city, and the incredible work of Local 26 has helped elevate our consciousness about the struggles facing many of their members,” said Councilor Pressley. “As the wealth gap continues to widen, pathways to the middle class provided by these jobs couldn’t be more important, and I look forward to continuing my advocacy on behalf of all workers in Washington.”

“Ayanna Pressley is a visionary voice. She is always there for us,” said Karan Burton, Vice President of UNITE HERE Local 26 and a Roxbury resident. “We want to send someone to DC who reflects our community and our organization. We agree with her that ‘change cannot wait.’”

“We are proud to endorse a candidate who has been a relentless advocate for her community and given voice to the issues of inequality that impact their lives every single day,” said Local 26 President Brian Lang. “Ayanna Pressley has worked closely with us at Boston City Hall and we look forward to working with her in the halls of Congress.”

Watch UNITE HERE members, including Boston Local 26 member Gene Van Buren, speak about the role the civil rights movement has played in our lives.