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.
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 [email protected]