Broken Promises At Mahwah Sheraton? Staff Fighting For Pay, They Say

MAHWAH, NJ — When the iconic Mahwah Sheraton on Route 17 shut down for good in December, the management shared a heartfelt letter they said they’d given to staff. But two staffers said recently that they didn’t get the letter — which they said was for public relations purposes — and that their colleagues are still fighting for pay they’re owed.

A long-time employee said that the staff found out about upcoming layoffs by receiving a terse letter in September at a weekend car show at which they were working. She said staff members who had been there for years always worked hard and felt like family, but were not treated well in the end.

The hotel, which opened in 1988, closed to guests on Dec. 15. The owners of the property intend to build two large warehouses there.

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The gleaming hotel was known for hosting conventions and weddings, and could be seen by drivers heading between New Jersey and Upstate New York.

Patch reported in December that when the hotel closed, the management gave the staff a kind letter.

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“The reason for the closure is still confusing to me but has something to do with progress and redevelopment,” wrote Stephen Bello of Blue Sky Hospitality Solutions, in the letter. “However, it is with a heavy heart that we must close the business.”

Two employees told Patch that their dismissal was less polite.

“They gave us a letter on the day of the Car Show on Labor Day weekend,” said one woman who has worked there for more than a decade. “They made us sign a letter that our last day would be Dec. 15. They wanted all the employees there on the Saturday of Labor Day weekend. I had a full line of guests. A manager came over to me with a full line, and asked me to sign it.”

She said some employees haven’t gotten severance pay, nor the pay they were owed for unused vacation or sick time.

“[The letter] said they don’t have to pay severance for under 100 employees,” the staff member said. “They said there were 99.”

She said that her union is fighting for people like her.

“I feel bad for non-union people,” she said. “At least we have a union to fight for us.”

“Some of us have hundreds of hours we haven’t been paid for,” she said, “for vacation and sick time, and they just blow us off”

She said she tried not to take many days off because she knew it would just force her colleagues to work harder.

Another worker, who was full-time for more than five years, said that she checked with colleagues, and that none of them got the letter.

“This letter was never composed for staff,” she said. “It’s lies and a total PR stunt. We were not offered other jobs even though the owners have many hotels. We were not given severance pay … Nor were we paid our vacation pay. Only two departments at the hotel are not union, front desk and the maintenance department.”

She added, ” The union is going through arbitration for their members, but two departments are going to have to fight alone for the severance and vacation pay…Most employees of the Sheraton have worked there many years and do not deserve the treatment they received. “

Patch reached out on Wednesday to Stephen Bello of Blue Sky Hospitality Solutions and Sam Kapadia of the Sheraton Mahwah, and will post their response if one is received.

READ MORE: See ‘Bittersweet’ Note Given Staff As Mahwah Sheraton Hotel Shuts Down

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