Baltimore Marriott Waterfront employees picket for right to establish union

Updated: 11:21 PM EDT Aug 9, 2018
Vanessa Herring
News Reporter
BALTIMORE —Employees at the Baltimore Marriott Waterfront were on the picket line Thursday night. They want to establish a process for workers to decide whether they want a union.

Unite Here Local 7, a labor union that represents thousands of hotel workers, helped organize the rally. It said Marriott is the city’s largest hotel operator and many employees are struggling to make ends meet. Marriott employees said one job should be enough.

“I’ve been with the Marriott for three-and-half years now. I was hired as a full-time associate. Lately we haven’t been getting full-time hours, and as such, they’ve cut our benefits, cut our (paid time off), so it makes it kind of hard to get by,” said banquet server Charles Altvater.

Altvater said he is working 20 hours on average per week.

“It has affected me personally because I need health insurance. I have different medical problems and Marriott said, ‘If you don’t work 30 hours within a three-month period, you’re considered a part-time associate,’ which, I was hired as full-time. I’m always available. I have 100 percent availability and I’m not able to accrue full-time hours,” Altvater said.

Frustrated employees took their message to the streets, picketing in front of the hotel. They are demanding a fair process for workers to decide whether they want a union.

“We want a process where workers feel like they can organize free from intimidation and harassment, where the company agrees to be neutral,” said Tracy Lingo, staff director for Unite Here Local 7.

In a statement, a Marriott spokesperson said, “Marriott believes the secret ballot election process administered by the NLRB (National Labor Relations Board) provides a fair process for employees to decide whether they want to be represented by a labor union or not. We will continue to respect our employees’ right to choose.”

“Marriott is the leader in the hospitality industry. They’re clearly the largest, so they have a responsibility, we feel like, to set the standard and make sure one job is enough for all hotel workers across the globe,” Lingo said.

It is not clear if or when both sides could agree on a process for employees to determine if they want a union.

 

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