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.