Another professional sports team has elected to cross the same Boston hotel picket line that was crossed by the Los Angeles Dodgers and New York Yankees in recent days/weeks: the Philadelphia Flyers. On Thursday, the Flyers crossed the Ritz-Carlton picket line in Boston, as spotted by Brett Banditelli:
Hotel workers have been striking against the Mariott and other hotels for some time, nearly a month now. The union strike, led by UNITE HERE Local 26, has been a popular topic of discussion in the sports world of late, and for good reason. Hotel workers are striking for better wages, hours, and healthcare, among other things.
NHL players are represented by the NHL Players Association, itself a union — and the golden rule of unions is that you should do your absolute best to show solidarity toward other unions, especially those currently striking. At the time the Dodgers crossed the same picket line, UNITE HERE claimed they tried to help the team find suitable hotels that treat their workers better and are currently not in the midst of a strike.
The Dodgers’ official explanation is that there weren’t enough suites to accommodate the players as required in standard MLB contracts. It’s worth noting, of course, that the NHL collective bargaining agreement contains similar language regarding rooms:
16.9 Single Room Accommodations. Any Player on an SPC who is not in the Entry Level System shall be entitled to single room accommodations for all Club road trips.
That doesn’t mean that there aren’t suitable hotels within the city, not by a long shot. It’s just language that the NHL can and probably will use to defend itself for its team crossing said picket line. The Edmonton Oilers, notably, have also crossed the same picket line, and there was no comment from the league or team at the time.
When the Dodgers crossed the picket line, SB Nation got a comment from UNITE HERE President Brian Lang:
The bottom line is workers out there who are on their third week of striking, who live paycheck to paycheck, who are fighting for a livable income so one job would be enough. You’ve got millionaire ball players who would rather sleep in a hotel, even if it’s struck, because it has suites. I personally think that Jackie Robinson is rolling over in his grave right now. He’s an icon who that organization hails as a hero and they act completely differently than he would in this situation.
The Flyers will face the Boston Bruins on Thursday.