BOSTON (WBZ NewsRadio) — Striking Battery Wharf Hotel workers marched through Boston's North End Friday afternoon.
The rally started as a small picket circle, then grew as it progressed through the neighborhood to the statue of Paul Revere.
According to Local 26, the union that represents the hotel employees, the workers are demanding hotel management address issues of sexual harassment and discrimination protections, as well as affordable healthcare and living wages.
At least one group checking into the hotel cancelled reservations when they saw the picket line, but others walked in.
Also joining the strikers were Boston Labor Council Vice President Darlene Lombos, several Boston City Councilors, and English musician and labor activist Billy Bragg.
"I'm here to bring some international solidarity to the hotel workers," Bragg told WBZ NewsRadio's Karyn Regal. "The issue that they're fighting for, one job should be enough, is something that we also have as an issue in my country. Unfortunately, the way that neoliberal capitalism has developed makes it very hard for ordinary working people to be able to bring up a family on a single wage."
Bragg said that as a touring musician, he spends his life in hotels, and owes much to those working in the service industry.
"I'm a traveling musician, I interact with people who work in the hotel industry every day," Bragg said. "The people who support the service industries—the Local 26 is a service workers' union—they look after all of us, you know?"
Local 26 says the upscale Battery Wharf Hotel is an outlier in the city in not offering the types of protections workers are demanding.
"Since the UNITE HERE Marriott Strike of 2018, all other full-service union hotels in the greater Boston area besides the Battery Wharf Hotel have agreed to contracts that ensure job security, guarantee affordable healthcare, and provide enough income for hotel workers to support their families," the union said in a release.
Hear Regal's extended interview with Bragg below.
WBZ NewsRadio's Karyn Regal (@Karynregal) reports