Hundreds of employees of the Marriott Marquis hotel in Times Square facing layoffs are demanding full severance pay and the chance to be rehired for their jobs if the hospitality industry recovers.
At a rally Friday outside the hotel on Broadway and West 46th Street, dozens of employees mostly from the food and beverage departments said they’re asking for the same amount of severance that had been given in previous years and the right to recall their jobs once the hotel industry and tourism recover in New York City.
Marriott had furloughed 1,200 employees in March and in December, the company informed 852 non-union employees that they would lose their jobs on March 12th, Patch reported.
A request for comment from Marriott was not immediately answered Saturday. In a statement to Patch in December, Marriott representative Kathleen Duffy said the hotel “has continued to maintain health benefits for associates that have been furloughed since March and will continue to do so through their separation date” and that the employees will receive more information about severance and benefits in early 2021.
The popular Times Square hotel was reliant on tourism, especially from Broadway shows, said Jennifer Beggs, 54, of Midwood, who had worked as a server in one of the hotel’s busiest lounges for 14 years.
“We basically would do special events for people, a lot of international tourism, people from all over the world,” she said in a phone interview. With Broadway remaining shuttered since the pandemic hit New York in March, “the fact that Broadway is closed has a lot to do with what’s going on at the hotel in general right now, because that usually drives a lot of people in and of course there’s no shows, and there’s no tourism so there’s no business,” she said.
Marriott is currently offering severance of a week’s pay per year of service, for a maximum of ten weeks severance, though many soon-to-be laid-off employees have worked at the hotel for decades. Previously there was no cap on the number of weeks paid out.
The food and beverage jobs will also be contracted to another company once the hotel resumes normal operations, Beggs said. “We have been told by several people in management that food and beverage has been outsourced, so even when tourism comes back those jobs are no longer Marriott jobs,” she said.
“You know it doesn’t cost them anything to give us our job back, even if they outsource to another company,” said Ramon Bueno, 36, of East Elmhurst who worked as a banquet server among other jobs during his seven years at the Marriott Marquis, in a phone interview. “It doesn’t cost them anything to rehire us first. Give us the option of getting my job back.”
The layoffs come at a particularly tough time, especially for the veteran staffers who are in their 50s or 60s and cannot easily find another job in the battered…