Members celebrate tentative agreement to renew IWA at Radio City Music Hall

On February 7th, 2012, nearly 6,000 union members packed Radio City Music Hall to hear HTC President Peter Ward detail the tough negotiations with the Hotel Association of New York City, Inc. (the organization that represents many of the city's hotel owners).

Despite the anti-union sentiment growing in the United States and a precarious economy, our Union’s leadership managed to extend the Union’s Industry Wide Agreement (“the IWA”) for 7 years. Not only did the leadership fight back against the industry’s outrageous list of give backs, but they won big wage increases, increased funding for the union’s pension and medical fund, and won vital job security protections in the new contract.

Some of the improvements our Union won included:

  • Wage increases every July 1st of 3.5% or 4% each year of the contract,
  • Increased contributions towards the union’s pension fund, by at least 16.7%,
  • Increased contributions towards the union’s medical fund, by at least 19.5%, and “bullet proof” language securing our free, family health insurance for the duration of the contract,
  • Funding for a brand new Brooklyn health center,
  • Extended medical leave for members who are out sick up to 52 weeks, 
  • Strengthened protections in the event an owner sells a union hotel or brings in a new management company, 
  • Stronger protections of the contract in the event an employer declares bankruptcy,
  • Protections against management doing bargaining unit (union) work, 
  • Vital improvements to the union’s grievance and arbitration procedure, 
  • Stronger protections for union delegates, 
  • Groundbreaking protections for immigrants against harassment or intimidation on the job,
  • Panic buttons for Room Attendants and other employees who work in guest rooms,
  • and "No loss” protections, that ensure union members can’t lose any past practices on the job.

“Everybody has to understand that, while we got this contract done early, it was far from easy and in fact, for me, it was the most complicated and difficult negotiation I’ve ever been involved in” said Union President Peter Ward.

On February 13th, 2012, thousands of members came out to vote by 99.44% to ratify the agreement by secret ballot.

Watch footage of the historic meeting at Radio City Music Hall: