Latest Updates on the Coronavirus Situation

BREAKING NEWS: Extension to Healthcare Benefits and Coronavirus Safety Protocol

August 15, 2020 10:34 AM

I am pleased to report that, late last night, and after arduous negotiations over the last few days, we were able to finalize an agreement with the Hotel Association that (1) continues healthcare for an additional month for members covered by the IWA and Division A contracts and (2) extends the Coronavirus Safety Protocol Agreement for the duration of this public health crisis. 

Read more from HTC President Rich Maroko...

An Update on Healthcare Negotiations

August 3, 2020 12:53 PM

Many members are understandably anxious about losing their healthcare at the end of August. We are working diligently to negotiate an extension to your healthcare coverage and to extend the Coronavirus safety agreement.

These negotiations have been exceptionally challenging given that the industry is not making any revenue right now and the cost of healthcare is approximately $50 million a month.

We will keep you updated on the status of negotiations. If you haven’t already, please sign up to receive text alerts from the Union. If you have questions, you can contact the Union at (212) 245-8100 and select option #1 or submit a question online.

Republican “HEALS” Act is Really the “HURTS Act”

July 31, 2020 12:06 PM

Back in May, the Democratic-controlled House of Representatives passed the HEROES Act, a comprehensive bill that would extend the emergency increase of $600/week in unemployment benefits through January 31, grant nearly $1 trillion dollars in emergency support for local and state governments, fund and expand programs to help working people during this crisis, and shore up the teetering U.S. economy. 

For over two and a half months, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and the Republican-controlled Senate have refused to vote on - or even debate - the HEROES Act, and they have also exhibited no sense of urgency to propose their own bill.

On Monday, July 27th, McConnell finally released a Republican proposal: the “HEALS Act.” The inaptly named bill fails miserably to address the current crisis facing many Americans. Read more...

NYC Offers Free COVID-19 Testing and Antibody Tests

July 2, 2020 6:25 PM

On June 29, NYC Health + Hospitals began to offer free antibody tests at locations across the five boroughs. The City is also offering free COVID-19 testing to all New York City Residents, whether or not they have had symptoms of the virus. Both tests are available regardless of immigration status or insurance coverage. To read more, click here. 

Stalled HEROES Act Would Benefit Working People

July 2, 2020 12:56 PM

The HEROES Act contains essential relief for working people who have lost income, face evictions and foreclosures, and need protections as they return to work. The bill also extends important protections from the CARES Act, which was passed earlier in March. Our Union is demanding the passage of the HEROES Act as the vast majority of our members have been laid off due to the crisis. The Act contains an extension of the extra $600/week in federal unemployment benefits, which would otherwise expire on July 31, 2020, and is absolutely essential for our members to make ends meet. Read more...

Beat the Summer Heat at NYC Parks and Beaches

Updated July 1, 2020 12:50 PM

There are a number of free options to keep cool this summer.

Cool it! NYC has put together a map of spray showers, drinking fountains, and tree cover at NYC parks and playgrounds across the five boroughs.

To find locations in your neighborhood, click here.

New York City public beaches reopened for swimming as of July 1, 2020 and New York City has announced that it will reopen 15 public pools in the five boroughs by August 1, 2020. Read more...

Using our Political Power to Pass Safety Legislation in New Jersey

June 26, 2020 4:42 PM

After weeks of working with our allies in the NJ State Legislature and the Governor’s Office, our Union is proud to announce that a new law has been signed in New Jersey that will protect hotel workers’ safety and jobs in the era of COVID-19 and beyond. The law will require daily room cleans, EPA-certified cleaning agents, and minimum staffing at the front desk. This law is the very first of its kind anywhere in the country. It went into effect on Thursday, June 25, 2020.

HTC Gets Strict Safety Agreement for Reopening

June 21, 2020 11:14 AM

Our Union has negotiated an agreement that extends the “Coronavirus Hotel Safety Protocol” and adds important new protections for our members as they return to work, takes steps to prevent outbreaks at a workplace, and makes sure members who contract the Coronavirus are able to take the time they need, with pay, to recover.

Health Centers Closing Early on Friday, June 19th

June 18, 2020 4:26 PM

Please be advised, all four Health Centers will be closing at 1:00 PM this Friday, June 19th. The Hotel Employee Benefit Funds Central Offices, located at 305 W. 44th Street, will also be closing at 1:00 PM this Friday, June 19th.

The pharmacies at the Midtown Health Center and at the Queens Health Center will be open on Saturday, June 20th. The new pharmacy hours are as follows:

Saturdays:

Midtown and Queens: OPEN 9:00AM-5:00PM

Harlem and Brooklyn: CLOSED

Sundays:

All Pharmacies CLOSED

Upcoming Drive-Thru Food Pantry in Albany

June 8, 2020 9:57 AM

For members in the Capital Area, the Capital District American Labor Federation and the Regional Food Bank of NY are partnering to host a drive-thru Food Pantry on Friday June 12, from 10am-12pm. It will take place at the Albany Labor Temple, at 890 Third Street in Albany. Working people have been hit hard by the Coronavirus and members in need are encouraged to stop by for assistance.

Free COVID-19 Testing Available for All NYC Residents

June 5, 2020 12:21 PM

The New York City Department of Health has made free COVID-19 testing available for all New York City Residents, whether or not they have symptoms. Testing is available regardless of immigration status or insurance coverage. Read more...

NYS Offers Free Antibody Testing for Food Delivery and Restaurant Workers

Updated on June 4, 2020 4:30 PM

The New York State Department of Health has extended free COVID-19 antibody testing for food delivery and restaurant workers through Saturday, June 6.

If you work in New York State and in food and beverage, and would like to be tested, the following testing sites are open from 10:00am-5:30pm daily until Saturday, June 6 (with the exception of John Jay College, Lehman College, and New York Institute of Technology testing sites, which will close at 5 PM). No appointment is needed and it is expected that the test will take about 15 minutes. Face masks are required. Read more...

Remembering Ernie Peters, 1935-2020

May 29, 2020 2:00 PM

The union was deeply saddened to learn of the passing of Ernie Peters, a longtime HTC Regional Director and a Local 6 Business Agent and Vice President. Peters passed away on May 26. He was 85 years old and had been a member of our union for 68 years.

Throughout his long tenure at our union Peters was a strong representative of our members and a fierce enforcer of the contract. He was well respected by members and management alike. Read more...

Build Political Power During COVID-19: Request an Absentee Ballot

May 28, 2020 4:15 PM

On April 24, 2020, Governor Cuomo issued Executive Order 202.23, which requires the NY State Board of Elections to send postage-paid absentee ballot applications to all registered voters for the June 23 primary election. Poll sites will remain open for the primary, but absentee ballots offer the safest and easiest way to vote during the pandemic.

The Board of Elections planned to mail applications out in the middle of May. If you have not received your absentee ballot application or would like to proactively request your ballot, you can do so easily. Read more...

Union 401(k) Enrollment Postponed

May 26, 2020 2:26 PM

Due to the ongoing restrictions in place as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, we regret to announce that the Benefit Funds has had to postpone the upcoming 401(k) Open Enrollment, originally scheduled to take place from May 26th through June 12th, until later this year. We will alert the membership as soon as new dates have been determined.

Upcoming Mask Distribution Sites on West Side

May 22, 2020 12:59 PM

As the weather gets warmer, many of us want to go outside for fresh air and sunshine. To make sure that New Yorkers have adequate face coverings for situations where social distancing cannot be maintained, the office of New York City Council Speaker Corey Johnson has set up mask distribution tables along Manhattan’s west side. Read more...

The Guardian: Strikes Erupt as US Essential Workers Demand Protection Amid Pandemic

May 22, 2020 12:30 PM

The coronavirus crisis has exacerbated abuses in non-union workplaces which were widespread even before the pandemic: low-pay, dangerous and unhealthy working conditions, no paid sick leave, and unaffordable or inadequate healthcare. In a courageous and difficult push, essential workers across the country have walked off the job on strike, refusing to tolerate the corporate indifference and in many cases, outright contempt for worker’s wellbeing. Read more...

Anti-Asian Hate Crimes Surge amid COVID-19 Pandemic

May 22, 2020 10:05 AM

The international medical community has established guidelines to specifically avoid labelling illnesses after locations because doing so has proven to promote another plague – violent hate around the globe. In keeping with that intelligent policy, in February, the World Health Organization (WHO) named the strain of coronavirus which is causing this pandemic “COVID-19.”

However, despite that fact, right-wing politicians and media figures are inciting their followers to blame this disaster on anti-Chinese conspiracy theories by frequently referring to COVID-19 as “the Chinese virus,” or the “Wuhan virus.”

The shamelessly race-baiting rhetoric and ignorance has been responsible for an exponential rise in anti-Asian hate crimes in the last 3 months, including cyber-bullying, verbal abuse, and physical assaults such as being spit on, coughed on, and much worse.

Feed the Front Lines: sLICe Astoria and DJ Camilo Donate Pizza to Queens Health Center Staff

May 21, 2020 6:34 PM

Employees at the Queens Health Center were surprised on May 7 by a big delivery. 25 pizzas rolled through the doors, courtesy of Queens native and radio host on Hot 97, DJ Camilo and Danny from sLICe Astoria. DJ Camilo and Danny dropped by the Health Center to share their appreciation for healthcare workers during the pandemic, and donated the pizzas as part of the #feedthefrontlines campaign.

NY Times Honors HTC Member Kamal Ahmed

May 20, 2020 6:15 PM

We are very sad to acknowledge the passing of HTC member Kamal Ahmed. As the longtime leader of the Bangladesh Society of NY, Kamal will be remembered for creating "a sense of belonging" for fellow Bangladeshi immigrants. Kamal was a proud union member of 40 years, having worked first as a busboy and later a banquet worker at the Millennium Hilton One UN Plaza.

Kamal’s obituary is part of a New York Times series titled “Those We’ve Lost,” which aims to put names and faces to the growing numbers of those passing away during the current pandemic. Click here to read the full article on the New York Times website.

Sadly, Kamal is one of a number of members who have lost their lives during this difficult time. To read tributes remembering and celebrating the lives of our fellow Union members, click here.