Employees of DoubleTree Suites Consider Joining Union

A delegation of workers at the DoubleTree Suites by Hilton Hotel Boston, which is housed in a Harvard-owned building, presented hotel management with a petition Monday delcaring worker intentions to start the process of considering unionization.

The petition, which was signed by a majority of the hotel’s workers, outlines their desire to be able to decide without the influence of hotel management whether or not to join UNITE HERE! Local 26—the same union that represents Harvard’s dining hall workers.

“We demand that the owner, Harvard University, and management of the DoubleTree Suites by Hilton Hotel Boston, respect our signatures and agree to a fair process for us to decide whether to have union representation without management interference and intimidation,” the workers wrote in the petition, which they presented to the DoubleTree’s general manger Monday afternoon.

Brian Lang, the president of UNITE HERE! Local 26, said he is hopeful that the University will work to accommodate the workers’ wishes. He praised the way the University treated Harvard Law School dining hall workers when they went through the process of joining UNITE HERE! Local 26 in December 2011.

“Our union has a very mature and rational relationship with Harvard,” Lang said. “Given Harvard’s track record at the Law School last year where things were done in a very professional and amicable manner, we don’t see why a similar thing can’t happen at the DoubleTree Hotel.”

A Harvard spokesperson could not be reached for comment about the petition Monday afternoon.

Boston City Councilor At-Large Felix G. Arroyo accompanied the delegation to present the petition and spoke with the workers afterwards.

“We’re going to win because of your leadership,” Arroyo said before a crowd of DoubleTree employees. “Members are what make a union strong.”

Representatives from Harvard’s Student Labor Action Movement and dining hall workers who are members of UNITE HERE! Local 26 at Harvard also accompanied the hotel employees.

“As students at a University that owns the hotel and pretty much sets policy there, we have a responsibility to back [the workers] up and give them the support they need for a very legitimate cause,” said Ikaika Bayley ’16, a student who showed up to demonstrate his support.

Harvard purchased the DoubleTree Suites, located in Allston across the river from the University’s main campus, in January 2005.

—Staff writer Christine Y. Cahill can be reached at christinecahill@college.harvard.edu. Follow her on Twitter @cycahill16.

This article has been revised to reflect the following clarification:

CLARIFICATION: November 25, 2013

An earlier version of the headline of this article and statements in the article stated that the DoubleTree Suites hotel is Harvard-owned. To clarify, the company is housed in a Harvard-owned building.

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