New Resources for Laid Off Members

Hotel Voice, Fall 2021

Updated September 2, 2021:

While tourism has picked up and our industries have started to make a comeback, the fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic is unprecedented. Never before have so many hotels and casinos been closed and so many of our Union’s members laid off, for so long.

The months ahead will undoubtedly be difficult for many of our members. You can count on your Union to do absolutely everything in its power to assist you until you are recalled to your Union job. Take a look at some of the resources that are available to you below.

FACING EVICTION OR FORECLOSURE? APPLY FOR A $1,000 GRANT FROM THE UNION

Members who are facing eviction or foreclosure, can now apply for a $1,000 grant from our Union’s Hotel Employees Lend a Hand Program (“H.E.L.P.”) With emergency housing protections coming to an end, the Union has put aside limited funds from our treasury to assist members who are facing dire housing emergencies. As you know, the Union has not required laid off members to pay dues during this crisis and, as a result, the pandemic has placed great strain on our emergency reserves. Therefore, emergency funds are very limited. We ask that you please do not apply unless you are facing an extreme emergency.

You can apply online at hotelworkers.org/help or in-person, Monday to Friday from 9:00 AM to 1:00 PM at 709 8th Avenue on the 2nd Floor. You must include a copy of your final notice of eviction, eviction warrant, or notice of foreclosure as well as the information for your landlord/creditor to submit your application. Completed applications will be approved on a first-come, first-serve basis. If approved, a one-time $1,000 payment will be paid directly to your landlord/creditor. We will continue to help HTC-represented workers who find themselves in extreme emergencies until the funds run out. If you have questions about this program, please call (212) 245-8100 and ask to speak to Communications Assistant Yasmine Abi-Hanna, extension 2298.

REGISTER WITH THE UNION’S HIRING ENFORCEMENT OFFICE

The Hiring Enforcement Office is a service of the Union that assists the workers we represent in getting jobs at other Union-represented hotels and in enforcing the hiring related provisions of our Union contracts with employers, including discrimination. Laid off workers are encouraged to register with the Hiring Enforcement Office if you would like to interview for work at other Union-represented hotels. Please be aware that while the industry continues to recover, the number of available positions remains very low.

Attend a Registration and Information Session:

If you are not yet registered with HEO and would like to do so, please call the HEO office at (212) 957-8000 to sign up to attend a Registration and Information Session. These sessions take place every Monday through Friday, twice a day, at 10:00 AM and 12:00 PM in Gertrude Lane Auditorium at 709 8th Avenue. You are encouraged to sign up ahead of time, as the number of attendees will be limited to 25 members per session and we may not be able to accommodate walk-ins. Make sure to bring a valid photo ID with you when you come to the Union.

For individuals already registered with HEO:

If you are already registered with HEO and would like to be referred to available open substitute positions, you should continue to call the Union at (212) 957-8000 up to two times per week, between the hours of 9:00 AM – 1:00 PM, and the HEO staff will assist you based on interview availability.

If you are already registered with HEO and are only interested in permanent positions, you will be called directly by the HEO staff once an opening, for which you are qualified, is available and you are next on the waiting list.

ATTEND AN UPCOMING RESUME WORKSHOP

The Union’s Hiring Enforcement Office will be holding workshops on Wednesday, September 15 at 10:00 AM and Wednesday, September 22 at 3:00 PM on how to create a resume and the best practices for job interviews. Members who need additional assistance can sign up after each workshop to receive help from Union staff to write and print their resume. Space will be limited, please call the Hiring Enforcement Office at (212) 957-8000, Monday through Friday 9:00 AM to 1:00 PM, to sign up.

INFORMATIONAL RESOURCES FOR FINDING TEMPORARY WORK

Many of our laid off members may need to look for temporary work outside the Union. There is a new page on our website to help give you useful information about how to try and find that type of work. In order to access this page you must create an account on our website https://hotelworkers.org/hire.

ENROLL IN UPCOMING JOB TRAINING AND ENGLISH CLASSES

Starting this September, our Union will be holding free English as a Second Language and Computer Skills courses online and in-person.

Computer Skills: Members who are interested in taking computer courses can call us at (212) 245-8100 and ask to speak to Communications Assistant Ambar Cordero, extension 2297. You will be placed in a beginner computer literacy class.

English as a Second Language: Our Union will be offering three levels of English as a Second Language classes: Beginner, Intermediate, and Advanced. To sign up for a class, please visit: https://nyh.tc/free-esl and fill out a brief survey about your skill level and availability. If you have technical issues, you can call us at (212) 245-8100 and ask to speak to Communications Assistant Ambar Cordero, extension 2297.

CONTINUE TO ACCESS PRE-PAID LEGAL BENEFITS

Normally, members lose access to Pre-Paid Legal 90 days after being laid off. However at the request of HTC President Rich Maroko in August 2020, the Fund’s trustees approved a temporary change giving members who were laid off during this crisis continued access to Pre-Paid Legal benefits. If you need assistance with issues including bankruptcy, debt collection, landlord/tenant disputes, foreclosure, purchasing a home, wills, divorce, child support, or immigration, you can call Pre-Paid Legal at (212) 586-6400, ext. 4258, Monday through Friday, 9:00 AM - 5:00 PM.

Outside Resources

DIRECT CASH RELIEF FOR UNDOCUMENTED NEW YORKERS

New York State is offering one-time payments of up to $15,600 to undocumented immigrants who lost work during the pandemic and were unable to collect unemployment or federal stimulus money. As part of the 2021-2022 New York State budget, the state created the “Excluded Workers Fund” and set aside a total of $2.1 billion to provide direct cash payments to the hundreds of thousands of undocumented workers in the state.

The New York State Department of Labor will be responsible for handling applications and administering payments from the “Excluded Workers Fund”. To receive up to $15,600, you must verify your identity, residency, ineligibility for federal unemployment, and loss of income. Additionally, applicants must prove they meet the state’s definition of an excluded worker and that they did not earn more than $26,800 in the last year. If an applicant cannot provide all the documentation required to qualify for the $15,600 benefit, they may still qualify for a smaller $3,200 direct payment.

Applications are now open. Visit the Department of Labor’s website to apply: https://dol.ny.gov/EWF.

APPLY TO YOUR STATE’S EMERGENCY RENTAL ASSISTANCE PROGRAM

The federal government set aside over $21 billion for state and local governments to help Americans stay in their homes as part of the American Rescue Plan passed this March. Each state is administering the funds directly. See below for how to apply in your state.

New York: Visit https://otda.ny.gov/programs/emergency-rental-assistance/ to submit an online application or call 844-NY1-RENT to submit an application by phone.

New Jersey: Visit https://njdca.onlinepha.com/ to apply. If you need assistance, call 609-490-4550.

Pennsylvania: Visit https://www.dhs.pa.gov/ERAP/Pages/ERAP.aspx to apply online or print out a paper application form.

Connecticut: Visit https://portal.ct.gov/DOH/DOH/Programs/UniteCT to apply. If you need assistance, call 1-844-864-8328.

LOCATE A FOOD PANTRY NEAR YOU

Visit foodfinder.us to find a local food pantry. Type in your zip code and click the red search button to be shown a map of food pantries near you. If you need assistance, please call (212) 245-8100 and ask to speak to Yasmine Abi-Hanna in the Communications Department, who will help you locate a nearby food pantry.

Find additional state and local resources on hotelworkers.org/covid19/crisis-assistance-programs