BREAKING NEWS: Extension to Healthcare Benefits and Coronavirus Safety Protocol

August 15, 2020 10:34 AM

I am pleased to report that, late last night, and after arduous negotiations over the last few days, we were able to finalize an agreement with the Hotel Association that (1) continues healthcare for an additional month for members covered by the IWA and Division A contracts and (2) extends the Coronavirus Safety Protocol Agreement for the duration of this public health crisis.

Healthcare extension:

As you know, our Union won an arbitration case in March that required the industry to extend health benefits for four months for members at IWA and Division A shops. These benefits were set to expire at the end of August. Under the agreement we reached last night, healthcare benefits are extended for an additional month, through the end of September.

Coronavirus Safety Protocol:

The Coronavirus Safety Protocol Agreement, which had expired on August 1st, will now continue until either the end of the current, declared state of emergency or an FDA approved vaccine becomes available. The agreement includes critical protections for when you return to work, including specific workplace safety precautions like personal protective equipment, mandatory masks for guests, enhanced disinfection protocols, protective barriers, and HEPA-filtered vacuums. It also gives those members who return to work the right to be tested for COVID-19 on paid time, twenty additional sick days in the event you contract COVID-19, and more flexibility to use paid and unpaid time off.

Currently, the Coronavirus Safety Protocol also includes a quota reduction for many hotels and a requirement that the hotels staff extra public space sanitization teams. For those hotels that are currently open, these requirements will continue until December 31, 2020. Even after they expire, no employee will be able to be laid off as a result and we will be able to challenge any room quota or workload that is inappropriate or unreasonable. Closed hotels that seek to reopen will first have to come to union to negotiate quotas and workloads. Finally, the industry has agreed to establish a joint-committee with union leaders that will meet on an ongoing basis to continue exploring ways to make your work safer.

I wanted to get this brief message out to you as quickly as possible, as members are becoming understandably anxious and because I understand that there have been some misleading rumors circulating. I hope to have time in the next few days to give you a more complete report about the agreement and my best assessment of the months ahead.

In Solidarity,

HTC President Rich Maroko