Skip to main content

UNITE HERE staffer dressed as a turkey in front of Le Meridien Cambridge
It's bad news for workers when hotel management company HEI Hospitality buys a new hotel. In Cambridge, Massachusetts, HEI's purchase of the former Hotel@MIT, which it turned into a Le Meridien, has left workers struggling not just with staffing cuts leading to heavy workloads, but with the loss of their Thanksgiving turkey. The hotel's previous owners had always given workers a turkey as a Thanksgiving bonus; with HEI having done away with that practice, UNITE HERE Local 26, which is working with but doesn't represent the Le Meridien workers, stepped in to fill the gap. "Tom the Turkey" distributed turkeys to hotel staff Monday afternoon, while making a run for most puns in a press statement ever:
"Le Meridien’s owners have groused about this meaningful tradition, to the point that they have carved it out completely," said Tom. "They are using cut backs to make gravy and are stuffing their pockets. The new owners cannot continue to peck and scratch at the housekeepers, kitchen staff, and others—the workers who make a hotel run."
HEI buys hotels and tries to turn them around for a profit over a period of years, and making cuts to the workers is one of the big tactics HEI uses. At the Cambridge Le Meridien, according to Local 26 and workers at the hotel, staff was cut from 100 to 70. HEI disputes this with the traditional "the union is lying and duping workers" line, saying that really, workers are very happy.
Nichols paints a different picture, starting with her own experience as a housecleaner starting about a year ago. She often worked 40 hours a week but was paid part-time, she said, before being promoted to working the front desk. Those who carry on as housecleaners can handle up to 30 rooms a day instead of the industry norm of 10, while other staff can be called upon to perform the roles of six or seven workers at a time. “There’s no concierge, no hotel operator,” she said, “no security days or evenings, even at times like New Year’s,” and at any given time there will be either a doorman or bellhop. The cuts in positions extended to the restaurant, she said.
The Cambridge City Council has endorsed a boycott of the Le Meridien; after HEI raised money from university endowments for a 2008 expansion, student activism pushed Harvard, Yale, Princeton, Brown and Vanderbilt to say that they would not reinvest in the company. UNITE HERE Local 26 is, at this point, just trying to get a fair process without obstruction and intimidation to talk to workers about organizing.

Originally posted to Daily Kos Labor on Wed Nov 21, 2012 at 06:30 AM PST.

Also republished by In Support of Labor and Unions and Daily Kos.

Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags


More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site