If you’re heading to the Inner Harbor today expect unusually large crowds. City Council members, state senators and delegates, community and union members and leaders, hotel managers, Visit Baltimore officials and more will gather in the plaza across the street from the Sheraton Baltimore City Center Hotel to celebrate the end to a six-year boycott at the Sheraton that resulted from a labor dispute.
The 700-room Sheraton Baltimore on Fayette Street in Baltimore is owned by Blackstone Corporation and managed by Crossroads Hospitality Management Company. The conflict began when the hotel was bought by Columbia Sussex, a mid-sized hotel company in 2005. Columbia Sussex dramatically increased workload, sub-contracted jobs, and forced workers to do their jobs without adequate supplies. “We fought back,” said Karl Taylor, a banquet server at the hotel, “Columbia Sussex thought that it could break us but it was the other way around.”
Union members called for a boycott of the hotel in the fall of 2007. Among those that honored the boycott and moved events were the National Democratic Party, The NAACP, the Metropolitan Baltimore AFL-CIO, Maryland AFL-CIO, the Communications Workers of America, and many other labor, academic, non-profit and medical groups. The workers held numerous picket lines and demonstrations at the hotel and also won a resolution by the Baltimore City Council to support the boycott. Columbia Sussex sold the hotel to Blackstone at the end of 2011.
On May 23, 2013 the unionized workers at the hotel unanimously ratified a new collective bargaining agreement with Crossroads Hospitality. The event will take place at 4:00 today.
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