Fired Marriott workers worry as holidays approach

BOSTON — Patricia Tchoumi is one of more than 230 Marriott Copley hotel workers terminated by the national chain.

“I’ve been working with the Marriott for 17 years," Tchoumi. "We were told we were all in the Marriott family but the way we were treated is not the way we treat our family.”

Tchoumi was a concierge attendant and a banquet server. She’d been on furlough since March. The hotel was reopened in August but business is way off with occupancy at about 25%. In September, Marriot fired over 230 workers, some who’d been working for the company for more than 30 years.

Carlos Aramayo is the president of Local 26 which represents hotel works. The Marriot Copley is not a union hotel, but Aramayo hopes they can help workers like they helped those at the Four Seasons. After workers there were laid off in May, Local 26 was able to get the hotel to agree to offer jobs to workers laid off first when business returns.

However, he acknowledges hotels are suffering huge losses during the pandemic. Many workers have been furloughed since March.

“Thousands of workers can’t find work and are trying to find ways to make ends meet," said Aramayo.
“Frankly, we are concerned the Marriott would use the pandemic [as an excuse] to fire all these folks.”

Workers like Tchoumi were supposed to get a severance of one week for every year worked, but the hotel is capping that at 10 weeks. Local 26 hopes they’ll reconsider that and also offer people like Tchoumi first choice when jobs begin to come back.

“But if she wants that job back she should get that job back," said Aramayo.

Feeling the weight of having to provide for her family, Tchoumi says that, with the holidays coming and unemployment running out, it’s now often a choice between buying food and paying her mortgage.

She is worried saying, “Right now, I am afraid. My mortgage, I can’t pay my mortgage. It is not easy.”

Boston 25 News reached out to Marriott for comment but have not yet heard back.