Mirna Hernandez traveled from Guatemala to the United States at age 23 and took the first job she could find: housekeeping at the Revere Hotel on the Boston Common. Thirty-five years later, Hernandez found herself in the same position; working a job she liked and was good at, with no plans to retire.

“You give me a job, and I will work,” the now 59-year-old Hernandez told GBH News.

Even when the pandemic hit the hotel industry in March, representatives from the hotel and its parent group, HEI Hotels and Resorts, reassured Hernandez and her furloughed colleagues that their jobs would be waiting for them.

“Your date of hire will remain the same, since HEI recognizes your past service at the hotel,” Nigel Hurst of HEI Hotels wrote in a May 24 letter to staff, obtained by GBH News. “We understand you have many questions regarding this transition and want to assure you we will provide you with extensive information once you have been recalled to work.”

That's when a surge of mass layoffs began at hotels across the city. The Four Seasons on Boylston Street fired nearly half its staff without severance packages, and only offered severance packages after massive public pressure. In the fall, Boston Marriott Copley Place terminated half of its staff, with reduced severance packages. And in November, Hernandez and more than 100 of her coworkers, many of whom had also served at the hotel for decades, received letters of termination.

“We will be using the end of this year, December 31, to rescind earlier messaging on rehiring employees who were employed at the hotel prior to the HEI Hotels and Resorts transition,” the letter from a Revere Hotel human resources director reads. “... when business does return to our hotel later in the year, we will post job openings to the public and if you are interested in applying at that time we will be happy to consider your application as a potential new hire.”

“For 35 years, I gave my all. I have never had a warning, this is the only job I’ve ever had,” Hernandez said. “To get a letter like that, not even a personal call — I'm just so shocked and disappointed.”

Hernandez says she has struggled to eat and sleep. She has spent the past two weeks applying for cleaning jobs at hospitals and schools, but nothing has looked promising.

“I need my job to pay my rent, to pay my bills,” the Dorchester resident said. “I am worried I’m too old to get hired anywhere, nobody is looking for someone like me.”

Hotel union Unite Here Local 26 doesn’t represent the unemployed Revere Hotel workers but is helping them in the wake of what Local 26 President Carlos Aramayo calls a “concerning trend.”

“There are hundreds of workers in multiple properties now who are being fired and told they have to reapply,” Aramayo told GBH News. “My concern is, when they do apply, these employers are going to lower wages and lower benefit costs. I think it's disgusting and deeply cynical that these hotels are using the pandemic for their own economic gain.”

Hotel occupancy is down 24 percent as compared to the same time last year, and seven out of 10 hotels across the country say they won’t survive another six months without further stimulus financing from the government, according to a November survey from the American Hotel and Lodging Association.

But hotels also have had unique access to federal stimulus benefits that businesses in some other industries could not apply for, including a provision in the March CARES Act that if a company owns multiple hotels, even if the hotel chain has more than 500 employees, it would still be able to qualify for small business benefits offered in the $2 trillion stimulus package.

“This is an industry that has already benefited from one bailout, it's asking to benefit from the next bailout and frankly, it costs zero dollars to make a commitment that if someone’s job is recreated, they get that job back,” Aramayo said. “The only reason I could see that a hotel would want to do this is that they want to hire a different person, maybe a younger person, maybe a person who is not a person of color.”

Revere Hotel and HEI Hotels and Resorts did not respond to requests for comment.

Despite the recent trend of layoffs, a few Boston hotels have promised their employees their jobs back post-pandemic, including Boston Park Plaza and the Lenox Hotel on Boylston Street.

The Lenox has reduced their on-site capacity to a “skeleton staff,” but plans to bring back every employee when it is safe to do so, according to Daniel Donahue, the president of the Saunders Hotel Group, which includes the Lenox.

“I don’t know why the Revere did this, they’re cutting off their lifeline of what their success has been,” Donahue told GBH News. “We will never turn our back on the employees that have made us what we are, and they will help us get out of this quicker than anybody else.”

Aramayo says he struggles to understand how this move will benefit hotels in the long term. “I'm not sure why they're trying to restructure their labor cost, probably because they want to pay off their debt burden or something like that,” Aramayo said. “But those are not the people who make the hospitality industry. All the value is created by the people that work there, the room attendant who keeps your room clean, the bartender who tells you where to visit in Boston and serves you a second drink. Those are the people who make up the hospitality industry, they are the hospitality.”