Boston's first hotel strike underway as Marriott workers walk out
Marriott hotel workers walked out Wednesday morning, marking the first hotel strike in Boston, according to the union Unite Here Local 26.
About 1,500 Marriott Hotel workers walked out Wednesday morning to demand a living wage, marking the start of the first hotel strike in Boston history.
After months of failed negotiations, Unite Here Local 26, the union representing the hotel workers, said they were forced to 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.”
Workers from seven Marriott-operated hotels are participating in the Boston strike: 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.
Hundreds of housekeepers, cooks, bartenders, bellmen, food and beverage servers and dishwashers are striking for better wages, demanding that “one job should be enough.” The workers gathered at the Sheraton Boston on Wednesday, marching with picket signs.
“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 (which is owned by Marriott) in a statement sent out by the union. “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.”
Workers at Marriott hotels across the country, including San Francisco, Detroit, Honolulu, Seattle, San Jose and San Diego, are threatening to strike, as well.
Unite Here Local 26 says that this action marks the first hotel strike in Boston history. The last time Local 26 workers went on strike was at Harvard in Oct. 2016. Dining hall workers walked out for 22 days and eventually successfully settled a contract with the university.
A Marriott International spokesperson said in a statement that the company is "disappointed" that the union chose to strike "at this time."
"Marriott’s current economic proposal matches the economic terms in the parties’ last contract, which included the largest increases in the parties’ bargaining history," the statement continued. "We have not proposed any changes to our associates’ health, welfare or retirement benefits. During the strike our hotels are open, and we stand ready to provide excellent service to our guests. While we respect our associates’ rights to participate in this work stoppage, we also will welcome any associate who chooses to continue to work.”
Photos Courtesy of Unite Here Local 26
Come join us on the picket line! One job should be enough for Boston hotel workers to live, take care of their families and retire while working @Marriott, the biggest and richest hotel company in the world. That’s why we’re on strike #1job #MarriottStrike pic.twitter.com/igcqq93roS— UNITE HERE Local 26 (@UNITEHERE26) October 3, 2018