Knickerbocker Hotel Workers Vote To Unionize

August 03, 2015

On the 15th of July the Hotel Trades Council was certified by the Office of the Impartial Chairperson as the bargaining representative for the workers at the Knickerbocker Hotel, following an overwhelming 86% of workers at the hotel voting for the Union.

This February, for the first time in almost a century, the Knickerbocker opened its doors to guests once again. The Knickerbocker Hotel had closed in 1921, a year after prohibition was enacted, and before our Hotel Trades Council had formed. While a lot has changed in New York City since 1921, much has stayed the same. Non-union hotel workers today still lack basic scheduling rights, are often paid substandard wages, and have no job security. However, in the decades since the Knickerbocker closed, many hotel workers have been able to join together, unionize, and win vast improvements in the quality of their working conditions through the power of a union contract. 

Workers at the Knickerbocker will be able to enjoy those rights. Unlike the workers who first opened the Knickerbocker, today’s workers will be represented by our union, the Hotel Trades Council. On July 15th, workers at the Knickerbocker voted by a large margin to be represented by the Hotel Trades Council and their decision was subsequently certified by an arbitrator. F & B Attendant Eric Cromwell commented, “This is a great day for me and my family. We’re very excited to have the union, and hopefully soon the respect and security that comes with a Union contract.”

Although it was more than one hundred years between the first opening of the hotel and HTC winning representation, the union organized the hotel quickly thanks to a a card-check neutrality agreement, which allowed our organizers access to the hotel and prevented management from intimidating workers. In just months, the workers were able to win representation. 

Now that HTC represents the workers at the Knickerbocker, negotiations on a contract will begin soon. Updates on contract negotiations will be posted on the website.