Rainbow Room Once Again A Union House

August 11, 2015

On July 16th workers at the world famous Rainbow Room restaurant cast their vote for the union, with 94% voting to be represented by the Hotel Trades Council. Workers have taken an important step to winning the job security, guaranteed good benefits, workplace rights, and secured wage increases which come with an HTC union contract.

The legendary Rainbow Room rooftop restaurant, which overlooks the city from the top of the Rockefeller Building in midtown Manhattan, reopened its doors on October 5th 2014 after closing in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis.

The restaurant’s rotating, parquet dance floor and crystal chandeliers - recently designated as city landmarks - speak to the history of the property. Opening in 1934 as a dinning and dance club for the city’s rich and famous to rub shoulders in, workers were driven to organize to win the union in 1992 to protect themselves from unfair layoffs, tip theft, and assaults on already substandard healthcare by the management at the time.

Server Davorka Zulj said, “I believe that everyone deserves a stable job with guaranteed wage increases, great healthcare benefits and a retirement plan for the future. However, only with HTC can we have all of these great benefits, scheduling rights and work-life balance. YES! We are ready to fight for a good contract.”

While their predecessors had to stand strong through the lengthy process of a government run election, in the face of a hostile anti-union campaign by management, today’s workers at the Rainbow Room were able to organize under a Card Check Neutrality Agreement. The Card Check agreement, which was won through the strength of our union, allowed the workers to organize quickly and provided strong protections against management retaliation.

A landslide 94% of workers cast their vote for the union by signing a card. On July 16th their decision was certified by an arbitrator from the Office of the Impartial Chairperson who compared the signed cards with a list of employees in the bargaining unit provided by management.

Brendan Gallagher, a Server, stated, “With the incredible support of the Hotel Trades Council, we at The Rainbow Room organized. We now seek to create a workplace where we can take pride in the business and in our service. A place where dignity and respect for one another is the focus. A place that provides a comprehensive healthcare plan which protects us and our families. A place where job protections are negotiated to allow for stability, peace of mind, and well-being.

“Only with the collective might of the Hotel Trades Council can we hope to achieve all of our goals. We are united, proud and we are ready to fight for the best possible contract!”

Now that the workers at the Rainbow Room have won representation by the Hotel Trades Council negotiations for their contract will begin. Stay tuned for updates on the negotiations!