Marriott Hotel Workers Strike in Boston
I want to share with you an interview that I did with one of the workers from the Marriott Hotel. We went up to Boston to go show support our to a strike that was going on with Marriott Hotel workers and last October thousands of Marriott Hotel workers walked off the job and they were fighting for better wages better benefits as well stronger sexual harassment policies. We went up to Boston to show our support and we also wanted to gain the perspective of some of the workers there what they were feeling and that's what we're going to share with you today. Let's get into it.
Me: So what's your name?
Marriott Worker: My name is Fernando
Me: And how long have you been out here?
Fernando: About a month and 2 weeks, protesting
Me: What is the goal of the protest? What would you guys like to achieve?
Fernando: What we would like to get is health insurance, wages & respect. From the company Marriott. Because Marriott bought this almost a year ago and from there on everything changed. Basically, it’s more about health insurance. They want to cut our insurance when you stop working. Local 26 want’s us to have health insurance. If you’re away sick for 1 week or 2 weeks from that you keep it open for our insurance. Knowing that we are still sick, we are out. Marriott wants if you stop working for a few weeks, well we pay insurance every week when we get paid. They take it away from us. So now if you don’t work, you don’t get paid, your health insurance stops. So, I mean, what's the use? So that's one of the things and other things about seniority, respect, 40 hours work for the people who have been here for many years. What you see now (Points at picket line) people have been here almost 30, 25 years working and we out here.
Me: That's a long time.
Fernando: Yeah, so many years. And we want what we need because inflation goes up every year, so the pay has to go up too. So just a few things we are fighting for.
Me: Ok, and when you say hours, are they not giving you enough hours to get a decent paycheck?
Fernando: Yeah, definitely. We're here full-time and we don't get our 40 hours because business goes slow, it goes by the business, but how about us? We're here to work. We're full-time, not part-time. So sometimes they just don't give us our 40 hours. So there's a lot of things going on that other people know about more than me, I just learned it. This is my first time. ( Points towards picket line )
Me: This is your first time at the protest?
Fernando: Yeah. We never knew it was going to be on this ( points towards block the hotel is on ) But when Marriott bought the place, we're not happy.
Me: So this is your first time at the protest, but the protest has been going on for...?
Fernando: A month and 2 weeks. Yup, this is my first time since Marriott bought. Marriott bought Sheraton ( Points at Sheraton hotel ) Waterfront is Marriott, Ritz Carlton is Marriott and now Westin is Marriott. And down the street, this brand new building is Marriott and he can't just share just a little bit? I mean just make us feel comfortable, at home, we've been working for so many years for retirement. That's one of the things too, retirement. There's people here looking for retirement and good benefits. Because the insurance, what you get is not good enough, we want good enough retirement.
Me: Do they give you a retirement fund?
Fernando: The union wants to give us retirement and health insurance for life as long as we retired and we are on the local 26 union, the union will open the health insurance, it will be there for life. They're not gonna shut us down.
Me: Yeah, because what you're saying now is if you get sick your insurance runs out right?
Fernando: They don't. But Local 26 would keep it open, so you good.
Me: Something else I wanted to ask as well, what you were saying before as far as people not showing you respect, what do you mean by that?
Fernando: Management. Management sometimes they tell you something just so they want you to hear but they don't do nothing we pass by and weeks pass by and we don't hear from them.
Me: Ok, so they're not listening to your concerns?
Fernando: It happened to me, a few times. They hear me say something and they say ok, yeah we're gonna do something about it we'll speak to them and let you know. I say ok, fine. I walk out. A month pass by and I'm still working and I never find out if they're gonna take care of me or not. Then I have to go to union 26 to tell them so they will do something. I don't want to have to go to union 26, respect me. I'm telling you what's going on, do something. So I have to bother my union so they can do something.
Me: And how long have you been working here?
Fernando: 21 years. Just looking for retirement like everybody else. We all getting old sooner or later we have to get it. The young kids that are coming they got the same benefits, the same insurance, the same pay and for the young kids, it's a good place to work at. They won't listen to us. But we have to fight, for what we want. You have to fight for what you want.
Me: Of course, you definitely do, it's very important because if you don't, nothings going to change.
Fernando: Nothing's going to change and then they're gonna take all the workers and they're going to step all over you. You know they'll tell you to go home, it's not too busy... etc.
Me: It's hard to live that way right?
Fernando: It's hard, it is hard. Because the rent, it always goes up. That's something that you can't control. Because everything goes up and what you going to do if you're getting paid the same thing. I mean getting paid $20 dollars an hour is nothing now. It's nothing, you think it's good, and then everything they take out you know social security, taxes, you going to end up... it's not enough, I'm telling you.
Me: Well I definitely appreciate you speaking with me today.
So I hope that you liked this interview just as much as I loved making it. And this is what this channel is going to be about, it's going to be about corporate greed and income inequality and I want to start talking about this subject because I think it needs to be talked about more. If you got any value in this please share this article on Facebook or Twitter or whatever and definitely be sure to subscribe to us on YouTube.