100% ratification at the Night Hotel

NYHTC — April 18, 2011

Employees at the Night Hotel on West 45th Street are delighted after they voted unanimously on March 4, 2011, to approve their first union contract and it's an excellent one.

More than half the workers received an immediate raise of between $2 and $4 per hour. Almost a third of the workers received raises above $5 per hour, and no one got less than a $1 per hour raise. Those raises went into effect on February 28th. The employees will also receive another 3.5% raise on July 1 of this year (as provided under the Industry-Wide Agreement).

Under the new contract, the unionized workers and their dependents now have the same excellent health benefits enjoyed under the Industry-Wide Agreement. Before the hotel was unionized, the workers had no health insurance, choosing not to enroll in management's non-union plan because of the very high paycheck deductions it required. In March, the company cancelled that health plan (for its non-union employees) in all of its hotels to reduce expenses. The company's unionized workers continue to be contractually guaranteed high-quality healthcare.

Obviously, the workers are also happy to enjoy the job security, grievance rights, and other protections that go along with representation by our union.

One provision employees consider vitally important is the short and simple provision entitled "Dignity & Respect," which prohibits managers and supervisors from abusing, disrespecting or harassing employees. Thinking back on the five years he and his coworkers worked non-union at the hotel, houseman Moctar Toure commented, "Everybody was so ready to be in the union because of the way we were treated. There was no respect for us. That was the big point."

And is it different now, so soon after the union contract went into effect?

Room attendant Fatouma Doumbia, who, like Moctar has worked at the hotel since even before it opened for business, definitely thinks so. Said Fatouma, "People feel different about being at the hotel now. The managers have changed. They treat us more politely. You feel like we're all equals now and that makes us feel different."

The workers won union recognition on November 4, 2010, when 100% of them signed union cards and the employer recognized the union via a card count. Negotiations began immediately after and the strength of the union's majority was an important factor accounting for the successful and quick outcome.

Now, eight of the ten Chatwal hotels in New York City are unionized (the Night, the Stay, the Best Western President, the Time, the Hilton Garden Inn Times Square, the Hilton Manhattan East, the Hampton Inn Times Square North, and the Dream New York). The Chatwal Hotel on West 44th Street and the Days Inn Broadway on West 94th Street are currently still non-union, and the Company is planning to open the Dream Downtown Hotel on 16th Street this summer.

There are 22 workers in the union's bargaining unit at the Night Hotel.