Esther Montanez’s housecleaning job at the Hilton Back Bay in Boston was a lifeline for her, a 31-year-old single mother with a 5-year-old son.
The pay was steady and solid — enough to pay her bills and still have money left over to sock away for a savings account for her child. Montanez liked her co-workers and felt pride in her work.
But when the viral pandemic slammed violently into the U.S. economy a year ago, igniting a devastating recession, it swept away her job, along with many tens of millions of others. Since then, in desperation, Montanez has siphoned away money from her son’s savings to help meet expenses. At Christmas, she turned to charities to provide presents for him. For now, she’s getting by on unemployment aid and, for the first time, has applied for food stamps.
“The truth is, I want my job back,’’ said Montanez, who has banded with her former colleagues and worked through their union to press the hotel to reinstate their jobs.
Getting it back could prove…
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