NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- Several hundred employees who were let go from a popular hotel in Times Square say they deserve their jobs back when the coronavirus pandemic is over.
Peter Dorton spent nearly two decades as a server at the New York Marriott Marquis. He was furloughed due to COVID-19 last year and was devastated to recently learn he and many of his fellow employees have been permanently let go.
"Our world was ... came crashing down. Not only were we in a pandemic, now we've lost our career," Dorton said told CBS2's Kiran Dhillon.
Dorton and hundreds of other employees are now speaking out, forming a group called Ready to Respond and arguing they have not received fair severance from the hotel.
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Members of the group also said they worry they will not get hired back, that the hotel will prioritize outsourcing jobs or hiring cheaper employees.
"This 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 Councilman Brad Lander, who recently introducing legislation that would require most businesses that rehire positions that were eliminated due to COVID to first offer them to employees that were laid off.
"It doesn't provide a mandate for them to hire back just as many people as they had before. Those jobs that you do rehire, offer them to the people that were already working for you in the years before the pandemic," Lander said.
The next step for the legislation is it will go before committee before the council can vote on it.
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Meanwhile, a spokesperson for Marriott International said it has no comment on Ready to Respond's to claims.
Mark Jaffe, of the Greater New York Chamber of Commerce, said employees who are trained deserve to get their jobs back when the economy recovers, but more resources for businesses that are struggling are also necessary.
"These were business that were shut, shut by mandate, and we need to be understanding and help them get them back on their feet," Jaffe said. "We need to have that negotiation. There has to be a give and take here."
Ready to Respond said it recognizes businesses are in a hard spot and any rehiring would happen gradually. The members said they just want the chance to get back to the jobs they love.
CBS2's Kiran Dhillon contributed to this report
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