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Talking Points

Marriott strike over in Detroit; Boston still talking

Striking hotel workers carried picket signs outside The Westin Copley Place in Boston in October.
Striking hotel workers carried picket signs outside The Westin Copley Place in Boston in October.(Steven Senne/Associated Press/File 2018)

Labor

Marriott workers settle in Detroit, Oakland, but not Boston

Union hotel workers reached agreements with Marriott International to settle strikes in Detroit, the Detroit Free Press reported, and also in Oakland, the San Franciso Chronicle reported, on Sunday. The strikes were two of about a half-dozen by workers in several US cities, including Boston. The job action in Boston is still ongoing, but “we’re making progress,” said Brian Lang, president of Unite Here Local 26, which has 1,500 workers at seven Boston hotels involved in the work stoppage. In both Oakland and Detroit, only a single Marriott-run hotel was on strike, Lang said, which made coming to an agreement less complicated. Still, the settlement is a positive sign, Lang said. “It shows that the strike is working,” he said, noting that as picketing enters its fifth week, the number of local workers participating is holding strong. “There’s an inspiring commitment to stay the course.” Local 26 is scheduled to sit down with Marriott in the next week, Lang said. The contract in Detroit was ratified with “historic progress on crucial issues” such as wages, health care, benefits, and working conditions, according to Unite Here AFL-CIO Local 24, the union representing about 150 workers. About 500 workers went out in Oakland and San Jose. — KATIE JOHNSTON

Restaurants

New England pizza chain closes several locations

A popular pizzeria chain in New England has abruptly closed several locations. Patrons and workers at Papa Gino’s locations have been tweeting Sunday about the surprise closures, which included a number of locations in the Boston-area and neighboring New Hampshire. The company hasn’t provided a full list of the closures and a company spokeswoman didn’t immediately comment. The Dedham-based company previously said it had 150 stores. As of Sunday, its website only listed 97 locations. Papa Gino’s was founded in 1961 in East Boston as Piece O’ Pizza. It changed its name to Papa Gino’s in 1968 and expanded throughout Boston, other parts of Massachusetts and Connecticut, Rhode Island, and New Hampshire. The company also owns D’Angelo Grilled Sandwiches. Patrons reported some of those restaurants also had signs saying they were permanently closed Sunday. — ASSOCIATED PRESS

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Trade

UK says reports of imminent Brexit deal are ‘speculation’

Prime Minister Theresa May’s office on Sunday dismissed as speculation reports that Britain and the European Union were close to striking a divorce deal after reaching a compromise on the intractable issue of the Irish border. Downing Street said ‘‘negotiations are ongoing’’ and that a Sunday Times report claiming a proposed agreement had been reached on future customs arrangements at the Ireland-Northern Ireland border was ‘‘speculation.’’ However, UK and EU officials have said in recent days that a deal is getting closer and could be sealed this month. Britain is due to leave the EU on March 29, but London and Brussels have not reached an agreement on their divorce terms and a smooth transition to a new relationship. The stalemate has heightened fears that the UK might leave without a deal in place, leading to chaos at ports and economic turmoil. The key obstacle is the Irish border, which will be the UK’s only land frontier with the EU after Brexit. — ASSOCIATED PRESS

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Gasoline

Average US price drops 8 cents per gallon

The average US price of regular-grade gasoline has dropped 8 cents a gallon over the past two weeks, to $2.85. Industry analyst Trilby Lundberg of the Lundberg Survey said Sunday that falling crude oil prices are the main reason for the decrease at the pump. The highest average price in the nation is $3.82 a gallon in Honolulu. The lowest average is $2.39 in Tulsa, Okla. The average price of diesel fell a penny over the past two weeks, to $3.31. — ASSOCIATED PRESS

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