A 45-day hotel strike in Boston, the first in the city’s history, is over after union members overwhelmingly approved a new contract yesterday that will give workers at the seven Marriott-owned hotels in the city higher wages and better benefits, including paid parental leave.
“We were able to agree to the richest economic package in the history of the hotels,” said Brian Lang, president of UNITE HERE Local 26, which represents hotel workers in Boston. “At the end of the day Marriott stepped up. They have met all of our goals, they have set a new standard for hotel workers in this city, and we expect the rest of the hotel employers to do the exact same thing.”
Lang declined to share all the details of the new contract, citing the ongoing strikes in other cities, but said the union accomplished all of its goals with the new contract, and said it would have been accepted if it was offered before the strike.
Under the new contract, housekeepers, who made $21.50 per hour, will make between $26 and $27 per hour, and all employees will get fully paid parental leave and an improved pension. Workers who become citizens will also get a paid holiday on the day they become citizens. Union members approved the contract 677-9. Workers will return on Wednesday, Lang said.
“I feel great, we worked so hard,” said Alice Alfonseca, a banquet server at the Westin Copley, who said she had been picketing from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. many days. “It was worth it to do it. We have earned respect.”
Hotel workers began striking in early October after months of contract negotiations with Marriott. The union has been pushing for higher wages and better health care, saying many of their members are forced to work a second job to afford to live in the city where they work.
For weeks, striking workers have been picketing outside seven Marriott-owned hotels, including the Ritz-Carlton Boston, the Sheraton Boston, and the W Hotel Boston. The union says the new contract will cover 5,000 workers.
Marriott has played down the impacts of the strike, saying in a conference call earlier this month the financial impact would be minimal.
“We don’t expect the strikes to have a material impact on our earnings in the fourth quarter,” said Marriott Chief Executive Arne M. Sorenson.
Still, some local Marriott owners have said there will be a significant impact. The owners of the Westin Waterfront, in the Seaport District, said earlier this month a strike that went on until late in the fourth quarter of the year would likely cost the company $2 million.
The seven Marriott-owned hotels in Boston have seen a number of high-profile cancelations since the strike began, including Gov. Charlie Baker’s election night party originally planned for the Sheraton. The We Are Boston Gala, an event honoring immigrants in Boston, was moved from the Westin.
Boston is one of seven cities that saw a Marriott strike. Unions in San Diego, San Jose, Oakland and Detroit have already reached agreements, while unions in San Francisco and Hawaii continue to strike.
In a statement, Marriott confirmed the agreement.
“We look forward to welcoming our associates back to work,” a spokesperson said.