Boston Hotel Strike: Marriott’s Convention Hotels Affected

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Some properties participating in the Boston hotel strike are within walking distance of the BCEC.

The Boston hotel strike—the first in the city’s history—has affected several key properties surrounding the Boston Convention & Exhibition Center (BCEC) and the Hynes Convention Center—the city’s two main venues.

They are joined by strikers at convention hotels in three California cities (San Francisco, San Jose and Oakland), and 5 Maui and Oahu hotels: the Sheraton Waikiki, The Royal Hawaiian, the Westin Moana Surfrider, the Sheraton Princess Kaiulani and the Sheraton Maui. Close to 8,000 hotel workers are on strike.

The Boston hotel strike affects 1,500 Marriott workers—housekeepers, cooks, bartenders, doormen and other employees—who walked out of seven hotels after months of wage negotiations. The affected hotels are: 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.

In Northern California, nearly 2,500 Marriott hotel workers are picketing outside of seven hotels in downtown San Francisco: the Marriott Union Square, the Palace Hotel, the W San Francisco, the Westin St. Francis Union Square, the San Francisco Marriott Marquis, the Courtyard San Francisco Downtown and the St. Regis San Francisco. Also included are workers at the San Jose Marriott and Oakland Marriott City Center.

“The hotel industry is thriving here,” said Brian Lang, president of Unite Here Local 26, the union representing the striking Boston workers. “It’s thriving primarily because of the great work that the members of Local 26 do and we’re simply saying one job should be enough,” he told the local cable news outlet NECN, referring to the fact that these workers have to hold two and three jobs to pay their bills.

All the hotels remain open for business, though it is unclear how the walkout will affect service. “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,” a Marriott spokesperson said in a statement. In the ongoing hotel strike in Chicago, there have been numerous reports of lengthy waits for check-in, uncleaned rooms and poorly trained restaurant personnel.

Marriott faces similar actions in several cities, including Honolulu, Detroit, San Diego and Seattle. Its Chicago hotels, including the JW Marriott and Ritz-Carlton, Chicago, went on strike in early September and have since come to an agreement.

What can planners do? See advice from industry lawyer Tyra Hilliard here.

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Barbara Scofidio is Editor of Prevue and heads up the Visionary Summits, our exclusive conference series targeting senior-level meeting and incentive planners. In her 30 years in the industry, she has become known for her passion around greening meetings, growing awareness of human trafficking and promoting CSR activities as part of business events. She is currently a member of SITE's Women IN Leadership committee and the media liaison for FICP's Education Committee. She was the first member of the media ever to be invited to sit on a committee by GBTA, where she spent three years on the Groups and Meetings Committee. She has also been an active member of SITE for 30 years, chairing its Crystal Awards committee and acting as a judge. Before joining Prevue in 2014, she served as Editor of Corporate Meetings & Incentives (MeetingsNet) for more than 20 years. She has a BA in Literature/Rhetoric from Binghamton University. Barbara is based outside Boston, in Groton, Mass.