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Councilors Slam Alleged Labor Practices at Marriott Copley Place

Boston city councilors signed a resolution Wednesday requesting that the hotel take action.

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.

Brittany February 02, 2012 at 02:06 PM
I understand that it is their right to protest and fully support fair wages but enough is enough. This protest has been going on forever! I live in the Back Bay and walk by the Marriott almost every day. Yesterday the protest line was so big I couldn't get my baby stroller around the masses. Also, if the city wants tourism this just looks plain ugly. I respectfully wish that everyone could solve their issues behind closed doors like the rest of us do. When I have a problem at work I don't get to take it to the street.
Cory Gudwin February 02, 2012 at 06:25 PM
Politicians need to get out of bed with the unions. Labor has a fair market value. We need a law preventing any project that uses tax dollars from mandating that union labor be used. Tired of my state tax dollars being wasted.

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