More than half of the hotel’s 50 to 60 employees are striking Thursday, according to Tiffany Ten Eyck, a spokeswoman for Unite Here Local 26, which is seeking to organize the staff. They allege that the hotel’s management isn’t doing enough to protect them from needles, blood, and other medical waste left by hotel guests from nearby hospitals.
“All the workers in the hotel are concerned,” even though housekeepers were most at risk, Ten Eyck said. “Workers report that the hotel has made some changes, but we want to be sure they’re protected, no matter what they face in a hotel room.”
Last month, workers filed a complaint with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration over the alleged unsafe conditions. The Wyndham is located next door to Massachusetts General Hospital, and like other hotels in Boston, it offers a special rate to patients who need to stay nearby but don’t need a hospital bed.
Striking workers also will testify before the Boston City Council on Thursday evening about worker safety at hotels, Ten Eyck said.
In a statement, the Wyndham Hotel Group denied the workers’ allegations. It said it was cooperating with the OSHA inquiry, and said employees hadn’t notified the company of any problems with medical waste until May, when it had managed the hotel for more than two years. Kathryn Zambito, a Wyndham spokeswoman, said 17 employees didn’t come to work today.
“We regret that an isolated group of employees have not reported for their scheduled shifts today,” Zambito said in an email. “All on-property employees undergo safety training - including blood-borne pathogen and hazardous materials training – and proper equipment and supplies are available to employees. Should inventory deplete, we make every effort to restock as soon as possible upon notification.”