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.
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, [email protected]