Brooks Sutherland Tuesday, October 30, 2018

City leaders joined striking hotel workers  outside the Ritz-Carlton yesterday to urge Marriott to strike a “fair” settlement with its union employees.

Five city councilors and state Rep. Jay Livingstone hand-delivered a letter addressed to Marriott CEO Arne Sorenson that was signed by 30 local elected leaders. The letter, urging the CEO to reach a “fair compromise” with UNITE HERE Local 26 that would end the strike, read: “We write to express our concern with the ongoing strike of Marriott hotel workers in Boston and to voice support for our constituents’ desire to provide for themselves and their families with fair earnings and benefits from one job.”

“This is a matter of respect and dignity,” At-Large Councilor Ayanna Pressley told the Herald. “And the stabilization of their families. There’s nothing charitable about this, this is what they deserve.”

Pressley joined fellow councilors Michelle Wu, Tim McCarthy, Kim Janey and Ed Flynn. Dozens of striking workers marched up and down the front sidewalk of the hotel, banging on buckets, blowing whistles and chanting emphatically.

“We’re demanding that they end the strike and come back with a contract that works for these workers and their families,” Flynn said. “I think it’s very important to let our workers know that we’re here to make sure that we’ll always fight for them. To make sure they’re treated fairly.”

Mei Leung, a housekeeper at the Sheraton put on a poncho and spent the day fighting for what she says, “is the right thing to do.”

“We’ve been negotiating for a long time, and they don’t accept our requests,” she said. “I’m 71 years old and still have to work.”

Last week, Wu filed an ordinance that would attempt to give hourly workers more protection as it pertains to predictable, consistent scheduling, an issue raised throughout the strike.

“Overall, we are at a point in our country’s economy and politics, where more and more workers are part-time, without benefits, and trying to balance multiple jobs in order to make everything work,” Wu said. “And when you introduce the ability of corporations and companies to change schedules at the last second, that really throws everything up into the air.”

Marriott has said it does not conduct negotiations in the press.

http://www.bostonherald.com/business/business_markets/2018/10/leaders_call_for_fair_hotel_strike_settlement

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