Union Has Organized 22 Shops in Less Than Two Years!

Hotel Voice — April 28, 2016

Newly organized Hotel Trades Council members at The OUT Hotel, The Park Hyatt, and the Hilton Garden Inn Times Square Central.

Less than two years ago Hotel Trades Council members turned out in huge numbers and voted overwhelmingly to approve a dues referendum. Among the goals of this action was to provide additional means to the Union to allow it to bolster its organizing efforts.

It began on July 24th, 2014, when thousands of HTC members turned out to endorse the Union’s strategy to protect its bargaining power. Members clearly understood that the excellent wages, benefits and workplace protections they enjoy were won because of the union’s power.

They also understood that to protect this power the union had to make organizing the non-union hotel industry a top priority.

In addition to voting to authorize a dues increase in 2014 members also pledged a total of 249,568 hours of their free time to support the Union by attending rallies, picket lines, political events, and other important activities.

“Non-union hotels are springing up everywhere, threatening to lower the standards for union hotel workers like ourselves,” Local 6 member Brian Gaffney told Hotel Voice at the time. “The non-union hotels pay their employees lower wages, with no job security guarantees, while providing inadequate and expensive healthcare or no coverage at all.”

The bold action taken by Hotel Trades Council members less than two years ago provided the union with the resources it needed to begin expanding the work of the Organizing Department. With these resources, and the thousands of members who have volunteered their time, the union has since organized thousands of workers in 22 shops! There is a list of these shops below.

Indeed, our Union has been organizing the non-union hotel industry at an amazing rate. What makes these organizing victories even more significant is that the workers at many of these shops did not have the benefit of a Card Check Neutrality Agreement. Instead, they had to go through a National Labor Relations Board (NRLB) election, which can often be a cumbersome, delay-ridden process.

NRLB elections—sometimes called “bottom up” organizing drives—have weaker protections for workers trying to organize. Managements often use threats, surveillance and other intimidation tactics to try to bully workers into voting against unionizing. In some cases managements hire anti-union consultants who coordinate aggressive campaigns, aiming to frighten workers into voting against becoming union members.

It is a credit to the union’s organizing department that in one shop after another—with or without the benefit of card check—workers have remained united and have elected overwhelmingly to join the Hotel Trades Council. In fact, workers at the Evelyn Hotel and the Ludlow Hotel can claim the distinctions of having voted by a resounding 100% to be represented by the Hotel Trades Council!

“We enthusiastically welcome any new brothers and sisters to the Hotel Trades Council, but we must not lose sight of the challenge facing our Union,” said Marva Moore, Carlton Hotel, at the time of the dues referendum. She certainly understood the situation. With over 200 non-union hotels planning to open their doors in our city in the next few years we must use the resources the membership provided in the dues referendum and continue to focus all of our energy on making our union one that represents as many workers in the hotel industry as possible. “If we are successful organizing new hotels, Marva Moore said in 2014, that then the security that we have enjoyed in this union for decades will continue for all of us, current and future members alike.”

Members from the Wyndham Hamilton Park Hotel & Conference Center, Dream Downtown Hotel, and the New York Edition.

A List of Organizing Success Stories

Since the dues referendum of July 24, 2014, an astounding total of 22 shops have been organized by the union’s organizing department, under the very able direction of HTC General Organizer Jim Donovan, Director of Organizing Julia Rybak, Assistant Director of Organizing Arisha Sierra-Blas and Assistant Director of Organizing Samantha Coughlin. Here is a list of those shops:

  • The OUT Hotel
  • The Courtyard/Residence Inn Central Park
  • The Park Hyatt
  • The Courtyard Newark Downtown
  • The Hilton Garden Inn Times Square Central
  • The Wyndham Hamilton Park Hotel and Conference Center
  • The New York Edition
  • The Dream Downtown
  • The Knickerbocker Hotel
  • The Rainbow Room
  • The Park South Hotel
  • The Strand Hotel
  • The Embassy Suites Secaucus Meadowlands
  • The Ludlow Hotel
  • The Evelyn Hotel
  • The Embassy Suites (Parsippany, NJ)
  • The Hampton Inn Suites (Mahwah, NJ)
  • The Hyatt Morristown
  • The Courtyard Newark Liberty International
  • The High Line Hotel
  • The Hotel Indigo Lower East Side
  • The EVEN Hotel Times Square South

Newly organized members from the Embassy Suites Secaucus Meadowlands, the High Line Hotel, the Embassy Suites Parsippany, the Ludlow Hotel, the Knickerbocker Hotel, and the EVEN Hotel Times Square South.