Workers represented by the Local 26 union voted unanimously on Friday to ratify a tentative agreement with the Battery Wharf Hotel, part-owned by Westmont Hospitality Group. The action ends the eleven-week strike that started on September 5th. The 75 hotel workers will be back on the job at the hotel starting Monday.

“It all came together in the last week,” said Boston’s Local 26 Treasurer, Carlos Aramayo. Since the UNITE HERE Marriott Strike of 2018, the Battery Wharf Hotel is the last full-service hotel in Boston to agree to a contract with similar terms. Major gains by the union include higher wages (20% increase), an improved pension program (37% increase), job security for immigrant workers, six weeks maternity leave and guaranteed affordable healthcare. The new contract extends three years until August 2022.

Residents at the 100+ condo units at Battery Wharf (plus those abutting at Burroughs and Lincoln) are also happy the 49-day strike is over. Besides the end of a daily 7am wakeup call by strikers, one resident said she is glad they will no longer will be harassed when they enter their homes. The residences are managed separately from the hotel with its own board.

Chanting their slogan one last time, “One job should be enough”, the worker group was jubilant at the Commercial Street strike headquarters. Workers emphasized they take pride in their work and want the public to return to Battery Wharf Hotel.

“I am so proud that we stuck together and we won everything we wanted,” said Serandou Kamara, ten-year room attendant at the Battery Wharf Hotel. “We picketed every single day and it paid off. I’m happy to have my union contract and go back to work.”

The contract also contains sexual harassment protections including panic buttons, immigration protections, and technology protections. The Battery Wharf Hotel agreed to continued participation in the UNITE HERE Local 26 African American hiring taskforce, established in 2006 to fight discrimination in the hotel industry.

Aramayo said he wasn’t sure if the upcoming holidays were an impetus for management to finally agree to the new contract. “With this contract, we want the hotel to succeed. It’s a beautiful property,” he added. Efforts to contact a spokesperson at Battery Wharf Hotel were not successful.

There are no current hotel strikes in Boston, although some of the Local 26 group is heading to New York next week to support nationwide workers negotiating with Sky Chefs, the airline food company.


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7 COMMENTS

  1. “they no longer will be harassed when they enter their homes.”

    Could it be that those residents living in opulence are grossly out of touch with labor struggles in America today and what’s at stake when workers aren’t paid a living wage? Maybe if those residents joined the picket lines and put more pressure on Westmont (even as abutters) to accept a fair contract the strike could’ve ended sooner. Outgroups have a much better chance at justice when members of ingroups stand together with them in solidarity.

    • Fine. But that doesn’t mean they have to endure harassment. Do not begrudge someone who may SEEM to have more money than you do. Live and let live.

    • More like the residents are older or women. I remember the days when the animal protesters were throwing paint at women wearing fur coats at the airport. Then their was the time I was leaving the airport just as Lawrence Taylor was coming in wearing the biggest fur coat you ever saw. After all he’s a big man. Not word was said (other than me saying Hey LT). I guess the protestors wouldn’t attack him with their fake blood unless they were willing to give up some of there own.

    • Technology protection refers to 6-month notice to workers of new systems that may impact their current job. They receive training on the new systems instead of replacing (or eliminating) their position.

  2. The residents had no way of influencing Westmont, why do people keep saying that? It’s a completely different management, board and legal entity.

    Striking workers threw things at residents and gave daily verbal abuse. As T-Mobile mentioned, the strikers were especially cruel to seniors and women who they weren’t afraid of. Rich or poor, there is no excuse for that. The noise not only impacted residents at Battery, but hundreds of other neighbors at Lincoln, Burroughs and along Commercial Street.

    The board asked strikers to delay the yelling and screaming by 2 hours on weekends, starting at 9am instead of 7am. The union flat out refused and made no effort to stop the workers from harassing residents. It’s difficult for “in-groups” to sympathize when the “out-group” is terrorizing you.

    I doubt anyone local will patronize Battery Wharf’s restaurants or function spaces and the hotel is in dire straits anyway. My guess is Westmont will sell, transfer to condo in the next year or so and the workers will be out of jobs.

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