As the state investigates whether or not contractors in charge of Boston Marriott Copley Place hotel’s renovation project are treating their out-of-state workers lawfully, the city’s councilors are taking a stand of their own.
At the request of At-Large Councilor Felix G. Arroyo, all of Boston’s city councilors supported a resolution Wednesday that asks the hotel to “take all necessary actions to ensure that the contracted employees at [the hotel] receive fair wages and benefits.”
Arroyo told his fellow councilors that he’s “extremely troubled” by the “allegations” of unfair wages and working conditions highlighted in a Jan. 19 Boston Globe article, as well as by the use of the out-of-state laborers.
“A bad economy is not an excuse to race to the bottom,” Arroyo said at Wednesday’s meeting. “We deserve better than that in our city.”
In the article, Globe sources say that Attorney General Martha Coakley is investigating whether or not the workers, which were provided by a Philadelphia church shelter, are being paid above minimum wage and working under proper conditions.
The 1,100-room renovation project has already come under heavy scrutiny for its use of out-of-state laborers. Protestors from area labor unions , and District 8 Councilor Michael P. Ross said he has already joined them.
Tito Jackson, the District 7 councilor, said maybe it’s time for all of the councilors to walk the line.
Ross spoke out against the hotel and its contractors at Wednesday’s meeting, even more so than Arroyo.
“It’s disgusting,” he said. “They should be called out for it.”
He also refused to refer to the investigation as mere “allegations.”
“Where there is smoke, there’s fire,” he said.
Arroyo and others said all of the city’s districts have laborers in need of work.
He said he received a call from the New England Regional Council of Carpenters asking the city to take a stand, which is what prompted his resolution.