Facebook Instagram Twitter YouTube

Workers Protest Layoffs at Sheraton Stamford Hotel

Workers at Sheraton Stamford Hotel were recently laid off after the hotel was sold. These workers are now protesting hotel owners who have offered them nothing in the middle of an economic crisis.

Ernie Gotta

October 29, 2020
Facebook Twitter Share

This article was originally published October 29 on Socialist Resurgence.

“No Justice, No Peace!” was chanted by roughly 50 union workers from the Sheraton Stamford Hotel, members of Local 217 Unite Here, community activists, and politicians, while walking a picket line on Wednesday, Oct 28. The workers are demanding that hotel owners be transparent and respect the workers’ years of service following the closing of the hotel.

A year after a vicious round of lay-offs that came in the middle of contract negotiations, Rockbridge Capital LLC, a private equity firm and owner of the Stamford Sheraton, has sold the hotel. It seems they are dodging contractual obligations and have given zero information about the new owners. Rockbridge is also refusing to offer severance or payout accrued sick and vacation days. Through its managing partner Davidson Hotels, another multi-billion dollar hospitality firm, the few workers who remain on the job following the COVID crisis were given short notice that their jobs were terminated.

Workers were devastated to learn the news. Ramona Valdez who works in housekeeping, said, “I’ve had multiple surgeries to cope with two decades of backbreaking work at the Sheraton. One surgery was for the toll of years in housekeeping, and the other was for overworking my body in the laundry. I gave my body and my life to that hotel. Now they give me nothing in return.”

Francisco Sanchez, also working in housekeeping, says, “Even trying to stay safe with a COVID test, I get slammed with bills I can’t pay because I have no insurance. Now my hotel is closing and my job is never coming back. I worked hard for the Sheraton. I deserve better.”

Maruicio Velez, a veteran bartender, said, I’ve been with the company 26 years. I did a lot for them. When they needed someone to come in, I was there. When they needed someone to do inventory, I did it. We stayed until 2 A.M. cleaning the bar. With no complaints! I’m ashamed of this company and what they’re doing to us. It’s not fair. We deserve some type of severance package.”

Workers were angry but have come to expect this foul treatment from a company that spent hundreds of thousands, if not millions of dollars, to try and stop their successful organizing drive in 2018. In general, the fight to unionize Stamford hotels has clearly exposed the brutally aggressive drive for profits by companies like Rockbridge/Davidson (Sheraton), Atrium (Hilton), and the Hyatt.

Following Local 217’s first successful Stamford organizing drive at the Hyatt in 2014, workers led a rank-and-file campaign to organize hotels across the city. But today, they found another roadblock in the form of Covid-19. Hotel companies are now using the Covid crisis to try and turn back the clock on workers who fought hard to raise wages and improved the working conditions for all Stamford hotel workers.

Sheraton workers at the Oct. 28 rally (see video below), Dan Piper, a union teacher and Socialist Resurgence candidate for State Representative in Hartford, Conn., explained how he and his coworkers first came together expressing their solidarity for the Sheraton union drive in 2018.

Piper said, “Other workers can learn from your fight. What the company is doing is criminal. Every union should be out here today. This is not the end. This is the beginning. Companies are going to use this crisis to try and kick union workers to the curb. And this is going to keep happening until workers realize they need to organize as a class.”

Watch a clip from the Oct. 28 rally, including Dan Piper’s remarks.

Facebook Twitter Share

Guest Posts

Understanding the Carnage at Colorado Springs

The heinous violence displayed in Colorado Springs is a stark reminder of the menacing, lethal threat that today’s determined far right continues to pose to trans and queer people, and anyone living outside capitalism’s imposed sexual and gender boundaries.

Keegan O'Brien

December 4, 2022

“We Sold Out the People Who Elected Us”: UC Bargaining Team Member Speaks Out About Union Concessions

Here we publish the testimony of a graduate student worker on strike at the University of California, who is part of the bargaining team for UAW Local 2865. Wednesday night, the bargaining team voted 10-9 to make severe concessions to the university.

One Way Out: The Revolutionary Hero of Andor

Not just another Star Wars story set a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away, Andor is a mature science fiction series about radicalization and rebellion against fascism and imperialism.

Doug Enaa Greene

December 2, 2022

New School Adjuncts Strike for Higher Wages Amid Ongoing Labor Struggles Across the US

1,300 adjuncts at the new school in NYC are on strike. This strike comes in the midst of other strikes across the country including at The University of California and Starbucks.

Jean Faber

November 18, 2022

MOST RECENT

South African president Cyril Ramaphosa in a suit

“Farmgate” Threatens the Very Foundations of Capitalist Stability in South Africa

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa faces an impeachment vote Tuesday. More than a simple case of corruption, it’s a political crisis of the ruling party and of capitalist stability in the country.

Sam Carliner

December 5, 2022
Mapuche people standing with a flag

The Case of the Mapuche: What Can Trotsky Teach Us about the Fight against National Oppression?

Trotsky’s reflections on the social aspect of permanent revolution have deep implications for building working-class hegemony through solidarity with oppressed peoples.

Juan Valenzuela

December 4, 2022

Sorry Jacobin, But Crushing Rail Workers’ Right to Strike Is Not Progressive

Jacobin’s Branko Marcetic is applauding progressive Democrats like AOC and Jamaal Bowman for their vote to force rail workers to accept a contract they explicitly rejected on terms that are not even close to their original demands.

James Dennis Hoff

December 1, 2022

Biden, Congress, and the Squad Just Voted to Block a Rail Strike. Workers Should be the Ones Who Decide

The Biden administration called on Congress to undemocratically impose a contract on rail workers across the country and avert a nationwide rail strike. The deal has already passed the House with unanimous support from Democrats. This latest maneuver by a “proud pro-labor President” shows that there is no such thing: the state acts in favor of the bosses to protect their profits.

Madeleine Freeman

November 30, 2022