Workers at seven downtown Boston hotels operated by Marriott International went on strike as of 5 a.m. October 3, 2018, with UNITE HERE union members set to expand strikes in other U.S. cities as soon as Thursday, October 4.
“UNITE HERE has opened Marriott strike headquarters across the country in multiple cities over the past days after over a week of bargaining following more than 8,000 Marriott workers voting to strike brought no significant progress,” said Rachel Gumpert, national press secretary for UNITE HERE, who noted that strikes in other U.S. cities are imminent.
“More workers will be striking Marriott after months of failed negotiations in the coming days as they struggle for one job at Marriott to become enough to live with dignity on,” she added.
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The Boston action—led by UNITE HERE Local 26—includes more than 1,500 Marriott workers, including housekeepers, cooks, bartenders, bellmen, food and beverage servers and dishwashers.
Workers at the following hotels are on strike:
- Aloft Boston Seaport District
- Element Boston Seaport District
- The Ritz-Carlton, Boston
- Sheraton Boston
- W Hotel Boston
- Westin Boston Waterfront
- Westin Copley Place
“Marriott has forced this strike,” said UNITE HERE Local 26 President Brian Lang in a statement. “After five years of record profits and more than six months of contract talks Marriott still doesn’t get it.
“It’s our work that creates the great experience for the hotel guests,” he added. “We are the reason that they keep coming back. Our demand is modest and fair, ‘One Job Should be Enough.’”
[Related Content: Striking Chicago Union Workers Settle Select Contracts]
According to UNITE HERE, the hotel strike is the first in Boston’s history, and the last time UNITE HERE Local 26 workers went on strike was at Harvard in October 2016 when dining hall workers walked out for 22 days and subsequently settled a contract with the Ivy League university.
Other destinations where Marriott strike actions are imminent include Detroit, Seattle, Hawaii and San Francisco, San Jose, San Diego and Oakland, California.
Official statement from Marriott on UNITE HERE's decision to strike in Boston:
“We are disappointed that Unite Here has chosen to resort to a 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. 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," Marriott noted in its official statement.
UNITE HERE is requesting that the public not cross picket lines and maintains a customer-focused strike website that offers resources for those who do business with Marriott at marriotttravelalert.org.