Workers at Battery Wharf Hotel went on strike Thursday at the waterfront property in Boston’s North End. Represented by the Local 26 union, approximately 80 strikers walked off the job as negotiations broke down with the hotel, now owned by Canadian operator Westmont Hospitality. The jobs at stake include room attendants, bellmen, cooks, dishwashers and front desk agents.

Union leaders said in a statement that the hotel wants to “eliminate contract language ensuring the right to a fair schedule, job security, affordable family healthcare, yearly wage increases, and a pension.”

Flyers were being distributed to arriving hotel guests saying that Battery Wharf Hotel adds a “local fee” on their bills that looks like but is not a government fee or tax. The handout included a link to batterywharfisbad.org and asked guests to give negative reviews on TripAdvisor.

In addition to disrupting operations, the striking workers are looking for local officials to support them in their fight against the hotel. When we stopped by on Thursday afternoon, District 8 candidate Kenzie Bok was on site speaking to the group. “After the positive Marriott agreement, all hotel companies in Boston need to know they cannot ‘opt-out’ of paying fair wages and benefits,” said Bok. “These are middle-class jobs held by a diverse group of workers who deserve the same protections.”

Marriott workers went on strike last year at downtown hotels including the Ritz-Carlton, Sheraton, Westin Boston Waterfront and W Hotel. After more than a month after workers walked out, the parties agreed to a settlement largely hailed by labor leaders as a victory in significantly raising the bar for worker protections.

Negotiations between the union and Battery Wharf Hotel have been going on for over a year. In addition to wages and benefits, Local 26 said the hotel has not agreed to contract language protecting women from sexual harassment and assault or protecting immigrants. In addition, “they refuse to keep language that seeks to correct the historical discrimination of African-American workers in the hotel industry, established in 2006,” said the union.

“The Battery Wharf Hotel thinks it doesn’t need to give protections to women, immigrants and African-Americans. The hotel thinks it can get around providing good jobs in Boston. When we said one job should be enough for every hotel worker in Boston, we meant it,” said Brian Lang, the President of UNITE HERE Local 26. 

Security and non-union workers were on site and the hotel appeared to be open for business. Inquiries resulted in “no comment” from site management on the strike.

Battery Wharf Hotel encompasses the bottom three floors of four buildings on the Battery Wharf piers. The top three floors of the buildings are condominiums. One resident coming home said, “I know and support the workers. They deserve a good contract. Though, the picket line and noise is a pain.”

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11 COMMENTS

  1. March and picket all you want but please be quiet out of respect for normal folks that are also union workers trying to get rest so they/I can go to our union jobs well rested.

  2. We all have grassroots, organized labor to thank for an 8-hour work day, a 40-hour work week, vacation time, overtime, sick days, workplace safety laws, child labor laws, health benefits, retirement, worker’s comp, family leave, the right to strike… the list goes on and on and we pretend like we’ve arrived at a point where everything’s ok and there’s no more progress to be made.

    One job should be enough.

    As a North End resident on North St. it’s despicable to me that our neighbor on the Harborwalk, the Battery Wharf Hotel, owned by billionaires (the Mangalji family), has a hard time paying workers in our neighborhood a living wage and providing quality, affordable healthcare.

    Why are they the lone holdout in the entire city of Boston, refusing to agree to some form of the union contract that EVERY other hotel has managed to accept?

    • I got an idea. If they don’t like their jobs they can quit and get a new one rather than complain. People are paying good money for those hotel rooms and they don’t want to listen to people screaming and yelling all day long outside. They are also wasting the time of the police department.

      • Of all the sounds of the North End: Logan, the tourists, the motorcycles, the basketballs, the garage trucks, the moving trucks, the Coast Guard daybreak joggers… you select the workers next door, fighting to put food on the table to whine about?

        I also love how you think it should be the cops’ job to protect the interests of the multi-billion dollar Canadian corporation over those of the local taxpaying workers whose livelihoods are at stake. You’re not alone, most people don’t think about this dynamic. But it makes you wonder, whose side are they on?

        Take issue with the people who actually have the money and the power to change this.

        • All those things you mentioned above come with the price of living in the city. Let’s see how happy you’d be if you payed over million dollars for a condo or over 500 for a hotel room and had to listen to people screaming at 7am every day!

          Maybe you can put a phone call into the authorities in Canada and see if you can convince them to send their police down here. See how far you get.

          Iv has jobs I wasn’t happy with and guess what? I quit and found something better. You’re probably one of those people who believes McDonald’s employees shouldn’t make 20 bucks an hour too!

    • They are a Canadian company. They do business according to Canadian standards. NAFTA is still around for a while, so get used to it. They are probably loading busses with Canadian scabs now. Canadians would love the work.

      • I don’t know how other people feel about workers fighting for more $ and better heath benefits but I support them 100% and would never cross a picket line.

  3. I thought I read somewhere that these workers just unionized recently. If that’s is correct, didn’t they just negotiate a CBA? What am I missing?

  4. Why would anyone stay at this place when they can use an AirBnB across the street for half the price? If the City can’t four a way to enforce its own ordinance, then the what the hotel does won’t matter. Do you think Domio has to negotiate with unions?

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