Peter Dorton has spent nearly two decades as a waiter at the New York Marriott Marquis. He was put on leave due to COVID-19 last year and was devastated recently to learn that he and several of his colleagues had been permanently sacked.
“Our world was… collapsed. Not only were we in a pandemic, but now we have lost our careers, ”Dorton told CBS2’s Kiran Dhillon.
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Dorton and hundreds of other employees are now speaking out, forming a group called Ready to Respond and arguing that they have not received fair compensation from the hotel.
Members of the group also said they feared they would not be rehired, that the hotel would prioritize outsourcing jobs or hiring cheaper employees.
“It wasn’t fair that we were loyal to Marriott and they promised they would take care of us,” Dorton said.
The group has also enlisted the help of City Councilor Brad Lander, who recently introduced legislation requiring most companies that rehire positions cut due to COVID to offer them first to laid-off employees.
“This does not give them the mandate to recruit as many people as before. Those jobs that you rehire, offer them to people who were already working for you in the years before the pandemic, ”Lander said.
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The next step in the bill is that it will go to committee before council can vote on it.
Meanwhile, a Marriott International spokesperson said he had no comment on Ready to Respond’s claims.
Mark Jaffe, of the Greater New York Chamber of Commerce, said trained employees deserve to be returned to their jobs when the economy recovers, but more resources for struggling businesses are also needed.
“These are businesses that have been shut down, shut down by warrant, and we have to be understanding and help them get them back on their feet,” Jaffe said. “We have to have this negotiation. There must be give and take here. ”
Ready to Respond said he recognizes companies are in a tough spot and any rehiring will be phased in. Members said they just wanted the chance to find the jobs they love.
Kiran Dhillon of CBS2 contributed to this report