The New York Hotel Trades Council, AFL-CIO has successfully concluded early negotiations for a new Industry-Wide Agreement with the Hotel Association of New York City, Inc. (the organization that represents the city’s hotel owners), covering about 21,000 of the union’s 32,000 members.
The current contract was scheduled to expire on July 1, 2012. The new contract will begin on that date and has a duration of seven years.
Employees will receive yearly wage increases (on July 1) of 3.5% (in 2012), 4% (in 2013), 4% (in 2014), 4% (in 2015), 3.5% (in 2016), 3.5% (in 2017), and 3.5% (in 2018). Room Attendants, who currently earn $25.47/hour, will be making $32.87/hour as of July 1, 2018. In the same period, Dishwashers will go from $24.75/hour to $31.95/hour, and Waiters/Waitresses (who receive tips) from $13.17/hour to $17.00/hour.
The contract guarantees the same employer-funded full family medical and dental coverage for the entire seven-year contract. The employers will be required to increase their contributions to the health insurance fund by at least 19.5% over the term of the agreement. The employers will also increase pension contributions by 16.7%.
The contract provides for much stronger union rights, including stronger provisions requiring new owners and operators to be bound by the terms of the contract, stronger protections of the contract in the event an employer declares bankruptcy, stronger protections for union delegates, and contract language binding companies and entities related to the signatory corporations and individuals.
Under the new agreement, employees have more job security in the event they have to go on extended medical leave. There is new, very strong protection for immigrant workers against employer harassment regarding their legal status. Employers will also be required to provide Room Attendants and other employees who work in guest rooms with devices (like “panic buttons”) to allow them to summon help if they are in jeopardy of being assaulted or mistreated by a guest.
The union’s right to organize hotels owned or operated by signatory employers through the card check neutrality process is now recognized in a large area around the five borough’s of New York City, including Central and Northern New Jersey, Long Island, and all the counties between New York City and the Albany/Saratoga Capital District of New York State.
The union announced the agreement at a huge membership meeting in Radio City Music Hall on February 7, 2012. Detailed written descriptions of the agreement were distributed in every shop, and members voted by a 99.44% majority to ratify the agreement, by secret ballot, on February 13, 2012.