Nearly 1,800 Boston Marriott hotel workers voted yesterday to strike against the companies' eight hotels in the city, but they haven't walked off the job just yet.
Local 26 hotel workers authorized the strike against Marriott International, which operates some of the city's most well-known hotels including the Westin Copley and Ritz Carlton.
The union’s decision came two days after unionized Marriott employees in Hawaii voted to strike. Similar votes are scheduled in San Francisco, San Jose and Seattle.
Brian Lang, Local 26 union president, said bell hops, doormen and waitstaff are among the workers who will walk off the job, if the strike comes to fruition. "We're talking about housekeepers who make those rooms sparkle, and that allows the Westin, for instance, to charge $738 dollars a night in this past week," Lang said.
Lang said pay and benefits are in dispute and that a strike will disrupt the city's hospitality industry. "It won't only cripple the hotels, but it will send a message worldwide that there's labor unrest in Boston," he added.
A spokesperson for Marriott International said the company has been "unable to reach a tentative agreement with the union since negotiations began in April" and that "if union workers choose to strike, the hotels will continue to operate and work to minimize any disruption in service."
A Local 26 union representative said Marriott hotel workers have already been holding "pop-up" pickets outside several of the company's Boston hotels to protest the contract negotiation process with management.