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AFSCME Rallies with Marriott Hotel Workers Who Demand ‘One Job Should Be Enough’

AFSCME President Lee Saunders (Photo by Javier Pierrend)
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By AFSCME Staff ·

AFSCME members joined Marriott hotel workers on Saturday at a rally in Boston’s Fairmont Copley Plaza, the latest show of unity among employees of the largest hotel chain in the world who have walked off their jobs across the United States to demand decent pay and safe working conditions, among other things.

They’re members of UNITE HERE, a labor union that represents 270,000 working people in the hotel, gaming, food service and other industries. And they’re striking under the banner: “One Job Should Be Enough.”

“Here’s the bottom line,” said AFSCME President Lee Saunders at the event. “Marriott is a multibillion-dollar global corporation that’s making money hand over fist. They can afford to do better by their workers. They can afford to raise the bar.”

Saunders called Boston “a first-class destination” and recalled that it’s the people who provide the services that make it great.

“If the folks who provide tourists with an enjoyable stay in this city are priced out of living in this city … that’s shameful. That’s why we’re all out here today. That’s what this strike is all about.”

President Saunders meets with UNITE HERE member Robert Brooks. Brooks’ father was a sanitation worker in Memphis, one of 1,300 members of AFSCME Local 1733 who went on strike in 1968 to protest poverty wages and degrading working conditions. (Photo by Kevin Zapf Hanes)

Earlier in the day, Saunders met Robert Brooks, a bellman at Westin Copley Place whose father was a sanitation worker in Memphis, Tennessee, in 1968, one of 1,300 members of AFSCME Local 1733 who walked off the job to protest poverty wages, degrading working conditions and more.

“Half a century later, plenty of progress has been made, but workers like Robert – workers like you – are still struggling for basic dignity and respect,” Saunders said. “Still struggling to get a fair shake from the boss. Still struggling to get a seat at the table. Still struggling to pay the bills every month without taking on other jobs.”

Saunders recalled that back in April, when AFSCME returned to Memphis to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the strike, members of UNITE HERE were out in full force. These events were part of the I AM 2018 campaign, a powerful call to action to continue the fight for racial and economic justice, and for civil, labor and basic human rights.

On Saturday, AFSCME International Vice Presidents Frank Moroney from Council 93 and Jody Barr from Council 4 joined AFSCME members from throughout New England, including members of HUCTW and SHARE, to stand shoulder-to-shoulder in solidarity with members of UNITE HERE.

“How many jobs should be enough, sisters and brothers?” Saunders asked, referring to the striking workers’ slogan. “That’s right: One job should be enough. One job should be enough to put a roof over your head. One job should be enough to put food on the table. One job should be enough to put clothes on your children’s backs. One job should be enough to raise your family and have a decent life.”

President Saunders stands with AFSCME members from throughout New England at the Boston rally in solidarity with members of UNITE HERE. (Photo by Kevin Zapf Hanes)

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