Boston hotels have been hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic, seeing just a 25% occupancy rate in a town with a lot of rooms. And the pain is getting worse.
More than 200 workers at the Marriott Copley Place hotel were recently laid off, according to the union Unite Here.
“I think it’s, unfortunately, a very cynical move by Marriott in the middle of the pandemic to fire half of the workforce,” Local 26 President Carlos Aramayo said.
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Unite Here does not represent workers at the Marriott. Those we spoke with say they loved working at the hotel but are not getting the severance pay at the level promised.
And there’s something else, according to Javier Gonzalez, who worked there 12 years: “We need to have the right to be recalled to our jobs in the near future. We know that the pandemic, sooner or later, will be over.”
But they say Marriott won’t guarantee they’ll be rehired with seniority.
“In the future they would give to us our jobs back but we need to apply again. In other words, starting from zero and there was no guarantee,” said Baitriz Torres, who had 23 years in.
So they are filing for unemployment and looking for new jobs. Baitriz said she’s not optimistic, in part because of her age.
“I am single. I have not enough savings to survive this pandemic and I am so devastated because they slammed us with nothing on the street,” she said.
The workers also said they are receiving a fraction of the severance pay that was promised.
We reached out to Marriott corporate and were told they can’t comment on individual hotel specifics but they did add this: “Business levels have been profoundly impacted by the pandemic, and continue to determine hotel operational and staffing adjustments.”