Unfairly fired employees ask for “Right to Recall” measures.
Workers who were recently fired from The Marriott Copley Place hotel in Boston sat down to share their stories with Senator Ed Markey, in a town hall held on November 24. During the discussion, which was organized by labor union Local 26, Markey affirmed that workers should receive fair treatment, following the years of service that they had committed.
Following in the steps of The Four Seasons hotel on Boylston Street, The Marriott Copley recently permanently laid off a large portion of its workforce, offering them limited severance packages. Even workers who had been employed there for a long time are expected to reapply, if they wish to come back as staff again, causing many to demand “Right to Recall” legislation. At the talk on Tuesday, Fritzgerald Fleury, Diane Sealy, and Elizabeth Morales, all workers who had been fired by The Marriott Copley, described their experiences and dedication to their jobs. Fleury, who works in the event services department, explained how the hotel had called itself “a family” but had continued to treat him with little respect for his livelihood.
“My team worked the overnight shift,” said Fleury. “We are the ones who make sure everything is ready for the next morning. Our shift played a fundamental role in the hotel… We normally work from 10 p.m. til 6:30 a.m. …We do everything we’re supposed to, according to the rules, and we go above and beyond. The fact that we were let go, without any guarantee of returning back to work, we thought that it was very unfair.”
Markey expressed his suspicion for the hotel’s actions’ coinciding with the recent announcement that there may be a vaccine for the coronavirus. He said that with the possibility of a vaccine, a rise in travel and in hotel usage could be expected, and he expressed that it is an unusual time to be stripping people of their seniority. He affirmed that he would continue to fight for the workers’ rights, in the hopes that they might be able to return to work when the pandemic is over.
“The hotel industry is lobbying Washington for more federal dollars, in order to help them stay afloat,” said Markey. “What Marriott is doing right now does not reflect well on the industry anymore than what The Four Seasons did. They’re looking for help from the federal government on the one hand, while at the same time, they are turning their backs on their longest term, hardest working employees. The Marriott employees have provided top of the line service to all of the Marriott customers, but now the workers are receiving bottom of the barrel treatment from the Marriott corporation. …Any help which the hospitality industry does receive from the federal government has to be linked to their policies towards their workers.”
Shira Laucharoen is a reporter based in Boston. She currently serves as the assistant director of the Boston Institute for Nonprofit Journalism. In the past she has written for Sampan newspaper, The Somerville Times, Scout Magazine, Boston Magazine, and WBUR.