Division A Members Ratify Contract Extension

Hotel Voice — October 22, 2015

A large number of Hotel Trades Council Division A members voted overwhelmingly on October 15 to approve a contract extension similar to the extension of the IWA approved in June by their brother and sister HTC members employed in non-Division A hotels. Amazingly, more than 99 percent of the Division A members who voted on October 15 approved the agreement!

The extension covers members in more than 20 Division A hotels. The members impacted by this exciting development will now have the security of a union contract for almost a dozen years—until June 30, 2027!

Included in the contract extension are $1 per hour wage increases for non-tipped employees on July 1 of each year from 2020 up to and including 2026. Tipped employees will receive 50 cents ($0.50) per hour increases on the same dates. The wage increases under the current Division A contract, the last of which occurs on July 1, 2019, continue unchanged. By the end of the contract a Division A room attendant will be earning $39.16 an hour. Wage-related items in the Division A contract (extra rooms, night shift differential, etc.) will be increased at the same times and by the same percentages as wages.

The contract extension also contains increases in benefits. For starters, there is a guarantee that Division A members will continue to have family health care at absolutely no cost until June 30, 2027—almost a dozen years! There are stronger job protections, too.

The extension approved by Division A members on October 15 adds on to the existing contract that is to run until June 30, 2020. The current contract, which was approved by a huge margin in 2013, also contains numerous gains for Division A members, including a 29 percent wage increase, hikes employer contributions into the pension, pre-paid legal and the industry training fundf, an increase in paid sick days to eight per year, and two annual paid personal days per year, one beginning this year and the other in 2017.

The contract approved two years ago also provides Division A members with stronger grievance and arbitration rights and stronger protections for delegates; and it guarantees that Division A members will be protected if their shop is sold or if there is a change in management companies.

The extension approved on October 15 adds to all this, making the last two years a time of extraordinary gains for Division A members.

We should add that the Division A extension includes improvements in benefits like those contained in the extension of the IWA back in June. These include:

Pharmacy Hours: The pharmacies in all of the health centers will now be open on weekends.

Ambulance Costs: Justified ambulance costs will now be fully covered, in accordance with the terms of the Plan.

Prepaid Health Care Card: Starting in 2017, each worker will get a prepaid HRA (Health Reimbursement Arrangement) card ($200 for individuals and $400 for families) that can be used for a variety of health care costs, like prescription drug co-pays and LASIK eye surgery. Unused amounts can be carried over from one year to the next.

Orthodontics: The minor children of workers will be entitled to orthodontia (braces) benefits valued up to $1,000 for each dependent, provided through the Fund.

Vision Benefits: The current optical plan with General Vision Services will be cancelled, and instead the Heath Centers will provide free eye exams and reimburse each participant and dependent up to $200 per year for eyeglasses or contact lenses.

There’s more. The contract extensions ratified on June 27 and October 15 require the industry to not only fund the construction of the new Brooklyn Health Center, but also to expand and completely renovate the Queens Health Center. This means that the Queens Health Center will be as high-tech and spacious as the Harlem Health Center is now and the new Brooklyn Health will be. Each of these dramatic improvements will ensure that our health care system remains state-of-the-art and cutting edge for years to come. The new Brooklyn Health Center will be owned by the Health Benefits Fund, and this will help to ensure that our health plan remains financially healthy for many years to come.

The hotels covered by the Division A contract extension are the Excelsior, Fitzpatrick Grand Central, Fitzpatrick Manhattan, the Franklin, the Mansfield, NYLO New York City, Out Hotel, the Roger, Viceroy, Hotel Wales, the Dryden Hotel, 1234 Broadway, the Bancroft Hotel, the Deauville Hotel, Ruxton Towers and the San Carlos Hotel.

Division A members employed in the following “Me Too” shops are also covered by the contract extension: Belleclaire, College Residence Club, the Chandler Hotel, the Herald Square Hotel and the Holiday Inn Soho.

Judith Allen, Banal Salle, and Karma Dolma (Viceroy Hotel), top photo; and Pancetta Sinclair, Susanna Gonzalez, Bienvenida Marquez, Estella Parazo and Ybelka Erikson (Wales Hotel) were among those who participated in the ratification vote on the Division A contract.