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UNITE HERE Hotel Contract Compaign Continues

UNITE HERE Hotel Contract Compaign Continues

By UNITE HERE, ILCA Member

Hotel workers in cities across North America are locked in battles with their employers, the global hotel companies that want to trap them in low-wage jobs. The details of each city’s fight are different, but the overall goals are the same: to improve and protect wages and benefits at unionized hotels and to help workers at non-union hotels join unions and gain a voice at work. San Francisco. The cooling off period agreed to by UNITE HERE Local 2 members in San Francisco and the 14 Multi-Employer Group (MEG) hotels at the end of the lockout ended on January 23, 2005. Local 2 and the hotels negotiated throughout the cooling off period and have continued those negotiations. A bargaining session is scheduled to take place next week.

The boycott of the San Francisco hotels has continued because the members of Local 2 are still working without a contract while the hotels persist in proposing major cuts in healthcare. Through the boycott, Local 2 members are sending the message that they will not accept a reduction in contract benefits while hotels are reporting such high profit margins.

Local 2 hotel workers and allies in San Francisco will hold a rally and picket line in Union Square on Monday, February 14th at 4:30 pm. The rally will highlight the hotel boycott and the workers' demand that the MEG stop cutting health care in their proposals.

Los Angeles. The Local 11 negotiating committee and the LA Hotel Employer's Council (EC) met last week to discuss a three-year term proposal that includes significantly improved wages and benefits over the union's two-year proposal (which remains actively on the table). The EC hotels rejected this offer and called off negotiations, only to announce soon after that they would make a counter proposal later in the afternoon. But the EC counter-proposal represented several steps backward from the hotels' previous negotiating stand: Rather than being retroactive to April 15, 2004, the hotels proposed a 5-year agreement from the date of agreement, with meager wage and benefit improvements. The hotels also wanted the union to agree, in effect, to a gag order prohibiting any form of economic action against the hotels, including handbilling or placing the hotel's name on a website or boycott list.

Local 11 made a counterproposal this week with two separate sets of proposals, one for a contact with a 2006 expiration date and another for a contract expiring in 2007.

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