More than 1,400 workers at Encore Boston Harbor will vote whether to authorize a strike on Wednesday, June 21, according to a statement provided to PlayMA from UNITE HERE Local 26, which represents those employees.
The workers, which include including room attendants, cocktail servers, bar porters, cooks, dishwashers, public area cleaning staff and drivers, will hold the power to approve a potential strike of EBH, which is owned and operated by Wynn Resorts. The casino resort is located in Everett, Massachusetts, just north of downtown Boston.
If the union members vote to approve a strike, the union will issue a deadline to Wynn stating when they could walk off the job. This would be the first organized walkout for one of the Massachusetts casinos or gaming facilities. EBH, which is in the middle of planning a significant expansion project, opened its doors in June 2019, and that initial collective bargaining agreement expired on April 19, 2023.
Since, UNITE HERE has been asking for several changes and working condition improvements.
What happens next if strike is approved?
A majority of the employees who belong to UNITED HERE Local 26 is required to authorize a strike. According to Lynette Ng, a spokesperson for the union, a deadline would be announced the following day if a strike is approved.
The union, which announced its intentions to hold a strike vote in late May, will meet on Wednesday, June 21, from 7 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. at Teamsters Local 25 hall, in Charlestown.
If EBH workers strike, according to the union, picket lines would be in place “24 hours a day, seven days a week.” In addition, drivers who are members of Teamsters Local 25 have promised not to cross the picket lines to deliver food, liquor and other items to EBH.
This has been going on since May
In May, UNITE HERE publicized its grievances with Wynn and EBH in a series of statements, as well as a coordinated public demonstration in Everett outside the casino. Workers believe Encore Boston Harbor should increase wages to provide jobs that enable employees to live and survive in the Everett and Boston area.
The union is also asking for fairer attendance policies, and better benefits for more workers.
UNITE HERE Local 26 previously led a 22-day strike at Harvard University in 2016, as well as a 46-day strike at Marriott Hotels in 2018. In 2019, the union coordinated a 79-day strike at the Battery Wharf hotel in Boston.