Tributes

During this difficult time when we can not come together and grieve in person and provide each other comfort, we wanted to take the space to remember and celebrate the lives of Union members who have passed.

We hold those who have come to pass recently in our hearts and prayers and recognize the contributions they made in their communities, with their families, and in the dignity of their work. Regardless of faith, where we are from, and where we work, we are in this together as Union brothers and sisters. This illness knows no boundaries, but we will come out of it united and strong.

To notify the union about a coworker or family member’s passing, click here.

Betty Brown, Courtyard LaGuardia

We are saddened by the passing of our Union sister, Betty Brown, a Room Attendant and Delegate at the Courtyard LaGuardia.

Business Agent Billy St. Pierre remembers Betty as an incredible delegate and a dear friend. “Betty was an extraordinary woman. She taught us how someone who was wise, strong, patient and selfless can impact so many peoples' lives. She truly led by example, and unified so many of her coworkers who trusted her leadership and wisdom. Her strength was interwoven with her sense of humor and compassion, and she mentored so many of her coworkers and delegates not because she had to, but because it was who she was. We will miss her greatly and I am forever grateful I had the opportunity to know such an amazing human being.” 

Read the full tribute to Betty here.

Bienvenido Estévez, Yale Club

We are sad to announce the passing of Bienvenido Estevez, a steward at the Yale Club and a member for over 30 years.

Bienvenido’s wife, Milagros Estevez, remembers Bienvenido as a loving husband, father and a giving man. “He was an exemplary husband, and an exemplary father. He had an amazing mind and an amazing heart. Even when he wasn’t working, he was a generous man. If he only had ten dollars to his name, he would give nine of those dollars to someone who needed them. That was the kind of man he was.” 

Read the full tribute to Bienvenido here.

Cristina Odalis Díaz, Evelyn Hotel

Our sister, Cristina Diaz, a room attendant at the Evelyn Hotel for 18 years, has passed away. Friends and family all remember her as always smiling and happy, never sad, and as a compassionate person who cared deeply about others.

Liliana Salazar, one of her close friends and a coworker at the Evelyn, said that Cristina’s efforts during the organizing drive in 2015 were a life-changing event for her. “Cristina was the one who convinced me to join the Union. I will never forget how hard she worked for us, and her beautiful smile always made us feel good.” Liliana also noted that Cristina was a devoted mother of three daughters and four grandchildren who loved life and loved to dance. 

Read the full tribute to Cristina here.

David Dioquino, Grand Hyatt

The Union is sad to announce the passing of our brother, David Dioquino, who worked as a steward at the Grand Hyatt for 36 years.

“He was just such a wonderful man,” recalled his son, Arsenio. “Even though he is no longer with us, it is so comforting to know how deeply he impacted the lives of everyone who knew him.” Arsenio also noted that his father believed in the Union. “The Union helped him at the Grand Hyatt several times, and he was proud of being a Union member.” 

Read the full tribute to David here.

Delali Bansa, St. Regis

The Union is saddened to announce that Delali Bansa, an overnight steward at the St. Regis Hotel since 1991, has passed away.

Delali was a pastor at the Living Gospel Ministry Church in the Highbridge section of the Bronx for over two decades. His coworker of nearly 30 years, Teddy Osei Bonsu, remembers Delali as a very kind man and devout Christian. “Delali was a strong, faithful man and a good friend. He gave many of us comfort and support on the job. Whenever one of our coworkers was going through something difficult, Delali would take us aside and pray for us.” 

Read the full tribute to Delali here.

Edward Fazio, Pierre Hotel and Waldorf Astoria

Our brother, Edward Fazio, a food and beverage storeroom attendant at the Pierre Hotel for three years, passed away suddenly on April 21st, 2020. Edward had worked for over 20 years at the Waldorf Astoria as a breakfast banquet cook. He was 62.

Michael Greeley, who worked with “Eddie” at the Waldorf for many years, said that he was a “super nice guy and very reliable.” Michael remembers Eddie talking about all the different jobs he had before he became a cook and a proud Union member. 

Read the full tribute to Edward here.

Emas Owusu, Lotte New York Palace

It is with heavy hearts that we acknowledge the passing of Emas Owusu, a loving husband and father who worked as a steward at the Lotte New York Palace for over 20 years. Emas had a magnetic, kind and generous personality and left a lasting impression on all those he met. 

Kwasi Gyamfi, who worked with Emas for fifteen years in the kitchen at the Lotte New York Palace, remembers him as a generous, hard-working man. “He was a great man. We were like brothers. He was reliable at work, and if he saw someone in a difficult situation he would always help. He used to donate to orphanages and always contributed whenever anybody needed financial help.”

Read the full tribute to Emas here.

Ernie Peters, HTC Regional Director and Local 6 Vice President

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 the full tribute to Ernie here.

Francisco Espinal, Radisson JFK

The Union is sad to announce that Francisco Adriano Espinal, an Engineer at the Radisson JFK, has passed away.

Francisco was a member of Local 94 and an Engineer at the Radisson JFK since 2001. He was working with the hopes of providing his three children with a better future.

Nahud “Coco” Rosado worked side by side with Francisco at the Radisson JFK for nearly 20 years. “Francisco used to tell everyone he was my ‘tio’ and he truly treated me like family,” recalls Coco. “When I got surgery a few years back, it was Francisco who took me back and forth to the hospital. He was always taking care of his family, friends, and coworkers first. I am really going to miss him.”

Read the full tribute to Francisco here.

Gabriel Diaz, Sheraton New York

Gabriel Diaz, a room service server and Delegate at the Sheraton New York, has sadly passed away.

Those who knew Gabriel remember him as a warm presence, hard worker, musician, and a loving husband and father.

Garde manger and Delegate Eladio Acevedo worked with Gabriel for almost 30 years and remembers him as a fierce Delegate for his coworkers. “Gabriel was a defender. I call him that because at work, Gabriel would always stand up to management and defend his coworkers. He became a Delegate because he was committed to being a voice for his fellow Union members. He helped people raise issues at work, and made sure people had the resources that they needed. He loved our Union and would often go to events and rallies to fight for us. They way I see it, he had two jobs: he would serve the guests as a room service server, and he would serve the members as a Delegate.”

Read the full tribute to Gabriel here.

Gerardo Vázquez, New York Hilton

Gerardo Vázquez, waiter, lobby porter and mail room attendant at the New York Hilton from 1963 to 1998, passed away on April 6th, 2020. Gerardo, or “Gery” as he was known to his friends and loved ones, will be missed by everyone whose lives he touched.

His wife of 37 years, and fellow Union member, Altagracia Vázquez, remembers Gerardo as a loving husband, “he was a great companion, a loving father, grandfather and husband.” 

Read the full tribute to Gerardo here.

Gias Uddin, New York Hilton

Gias Uddin, a kitchen runner from the NY Hilton and proud Union member since 2000, passed away on April 3rd, 2020. Mohamed Alam, a banquet server at Great Performances who has known Gias for over 40 years, fondly remembers his closest friend as an honest and good person, and a very strong supporter of the Union. “For him, everything was the Union. We would always go together to whatever the Union was doing,” he said. Mohamed remembers attending the Save the Plaza Rally, and joining the picket line at the Capri Whitestone, and also joining the boycott at the Boathouse Restaurant many times with Gias. 

Read the full tribute to Gias here.

Granville Nicholls, Harvard Club and Local 6 Trustee

The Union is saddened to announce the recent passing of Local 6 Trustee Granville Nicholls at his home in Chester, NY. He was 73. Granville, who immigrated to the US from Barbados, started working as a waiter at the Harvard Club in the summer of 1978. During his 40+ years there, he became a Union delegate, a shop steward, and eventually a Union trustee. 

Read the full tribute to Granville here.

Greta Belizaire, Grand Hyatt

The Union is saddened to learn about the passing of Greta Belizaire, our sister from the Grand Hyatt, where she worked for over 33 years as a housekeeping attendant. Greta passed away on April 9th, 2020.

Local 6 Vice President Hazel Hazzard recalls Greta being a quiet lady, very respectful, who possessed poise and grace, and who was liked by everyone. 

Read the full tribute to Greta here.

Hernan Morales, New York Hilton

Hernan Morales, a steward at the New York Hilton for 21 years, has passed. He was 68.

His wife, Claudia, said this about her husband, whom she affectionally called ‘Pa’ - “He was a good man and a hard worker, and more than anything he loved helping others,” she said. She added that not only was he good husband, a good father and a good co-worker, he was a good friend, too. Pa was the love of my life and I will miss him forever.” 

Read the full tribute to Hernan here.

John Mensah, St. Regis

We are saddened by the passing of John Mensah, an Engineer at the St. Regis Hotel. John is remembered as a great husband, father, and grandfather.

John immigrated to New York City from Ghana and worked at the St. Regis since the hotel re-opened in 1991. His coworkers remember him as a helpful and skilled worker, and a proud union member. 

Read the full tribute to John here.

Jorge Leonidas Siavichay, Waldorf Astoria

Jorge Leonidas Siavichay, a waiter at the Waldorf Astoria for over 40 years, passed away on April 17th, 2020.

Jorge was a pillar in his family, his workplace and his community. At work Jorge is remembered as one of the great professionals who made the Waldorf Astoria a legendary institution. 

Read the full tribute to Jorge here.

Jose Reynald C. Andres, Mandarin Oriental

We are saddened by the passing of Jose Reynald C. Andres, a cook at the Mandarin Oriental. Jose lost his battle to COVID-19 on April 2nd, 2020.

Jose’s friend and Union Delegate, William Seneewong, remembers Jose as a great friend, loyal coworker, and a strong union member. “I trained Jose when he first came to the Mandarin in 2004. Since then, we worked side-by-side everyday and he became like a brother to me. He was an amazing worker. Jose was always there to back up his coworkers and stood with the Union one hundred percent.” 

Read the full tribute to Jose here.

Jose Abrahan Burgos, Park Central Hotel

Jose Abrahan Burgos, a laundry attendant at the Park Central Hotel for 34 years, passed away on April 11th, 2020.

His son, who is also named Jose and who works at the Park Central as a housekeeping attendant, described his father as a beloved husband, father, grandfather, brother, uncle and friend, who possessed a special and unique bond with his brothers and sisters. 

Read the full tribute to Jose here.

Jose Rosado, Shop Chairman at the Union Club and Local 6 Assembly Delegate

We are deeply saddened by the loss of Jose Rosado, a retired shop chairman at the Union Club and a Local 6 Assembly Delegate. Jose passed away on April 17, at the age of 71. He worked at the Union Club for over two decades as a cook, and was first a union delegate, before being appointed to shop chairman. He will be remembered by all who knew him as a loving husband and father, a fearless leader, and a friendly, kind, and funny person. 

Read the full tribute to Jose here.

Joseph Chinchilla, Empire City Casino at Yonkers Raceway

The Union is mourning the loss of our brother Joseph Chinchilla, a cage cashier at MGM Empire City Casino in Yonkers. Joseph is remembered as a funny, warm, and caring presence at work.

Divine Rapay, another cage cashier who worked closely with Joseph, remembers him as a beloved coworker and a great conversationalist. “My deepest sympathy to Joe’s family. His passing was a shock to all of us!,” she explained. “I enjoyed working with him so much. I’m going to miss talking to him, and I’m going to miss his hearty laugh. Rest In peace Joe!” 

Read the full tribute to Joseph here.

Kamal Ahmed, Millenium One UN Plaza

We are saddened by the passing of Kamal Ahmed, a banquet server at the Millenium Hilton One UN Plaza and a Union member for almost 40 years.

Kamal came to the United States from Bangladesh 40 years ago. He is remembered as a loving husband, father and a community leader. At the time of his passing, Kamal was serving his second term as president of the New York City Bangladeshi society. 

Read the full tribute to Kamal here.

Latanya Jackson, Pierre Hotel

On April 8, 2020, the Union lost our sister Latanya Jackson, a PBX operator at the Pierre Hotel since 2012. She was 53 years old.

Beverly Footman, a Delegate at the Pierre who worked side-by-side with Latanya and who was her closest friend, remembers her as a very loving, caring, and gentle person. “She was so energetic and so happy and always had a smile on her face. Everyone who knew her just loved her,” Beverly noted. “We worked the 3-11 shift together for years. I am so sad to lose her.” 

Read the full tribute to Latanya here.

Locknath Saha, Lotte New York Palace

The Union is saddened by the passing of our brother Locknath Saha, a waiter at the Gilt Restaurant and at the Trouble’s Trust Bar in the Lotte New York Palace since 2005. He was 52.

“He was always such a gentleman,” recalled Raijul Kadir, a close coworker of Locknath’s for 15 years. “He never called in sick and he was always on time. And he knew his job really well. He loved talking about his wife and son and daughter all the time. His family was everything to him. I also remember him traveling back to Bangladesh often to help his family and friends back there too. He did A to Z, 100% of the time, and he will be missed.” 

Read the full tribute to Locknath here.

Luisito Izar, Lotte New York Palace

The Union is mourning the loss of our brother Luisito Izar, a floor supervisor at the Lotte New York Palace for almost 16 years, who passed away on April 11th. Luisito had been a union member since 1992 when he started out as a houseman at the London before moving on to the Palace. He was 63. 

Read the full tribute to Luisito here. 

Marion Shephard, The Peninsula Hotel

The Union is mourning the loss of our sister Marion Shephard, a room attendant at The Peninsula Hotel for over 30 years. Marion was also a Local 6 Delegate Assembly member. She passed away on April 12th at age 62.

Kwaku Oduro, a houseman at the Peninsula who was not only a colleague but a close friend of Marion’s, described her as “a genuinely nice lady and very helpful. Everyone loved her and she absolutely loved being around people. She was usually the center of attention at the year-end parties and she loved it." 

Read the full tribute to Marion here.

Michael Lewis, Sr., Grand Hyatt

Our brother Michael Lewis, a housekeeping attendant for 40 years at the Grand Hyatt Hotel, passed away on April 11th, 2020, at the age of 70.

His long time friend and coworker, Alda Cooper, a room attendant who started at the Grand Hyatt with Michael when it first opened, fondly remembers him as a very loving, caring, friendly, gentle soul who would do anything for you. “Michael was always there for you. You never, ever had to ask him. It was as if he could read your mind. He was just Michael. There will never be another one like him,” she said. 

Read the full tribute to Michael here.

Murtland McPherson, Pierre Hotel

The Union mourns the passing of our brother Murtland McPherson, a laundry attendant for 29 years at the Pierre Hotel. He was 71.

Pierre Delegate Willie Joseph recalled that Murtland was your typical nice guy. “He was just always eager to lend a hand; never thought of himself. I’m going to really miss him.” 

Read the full tribute to Murtland here. 

Roberto Pozo, Metropolitan Club

We are saddened by the loss of Roberto Pozo, a doorman at the Metropolitan Club, who passed away on April 17.

Roberto was a loving father and husband. He is remembered as a mentor and a dear friend by his coworkers. He was a helpful and caring presence in his workplace, who always went out of his way to share his wisdom with others. 

Read the full tribute to Roberto here.

Romulo Co, The Roosevelt Hotel

Romulo Co, a bellman at The Roosevelt Hotel from 1997 to 2020, passed away on April 28th.

His wife of 34 years, Priscilla Olaguera Co, remembers Romulo as a loving father to his sons, brother, and husband. She also added these kind words about her husband, “He was such a wonderful man and also my best friend. It was his caring attitude for others that made him so special and I was so proud of him. He always thought of others first and he never thought of himself.” 

Read the full tribute to Romulo here.

Santos "Shorty" Pizarro, New York Hilton

We are sad to announce the passing of Santos Pizarro, an Engineer at the New York Hilton. Santos was known by everyone as “Shorty”. He is remembered as a loving husband, father and grandfather, a great coworker, and an active Union member. 

His daughter, Christina, shared these words on behalf of his family: “It is with great sadness that we share the unfortunate passing of our wonderful father known to all as 'Shorty.' He was an awesome father to Anthony, Maria, and Christina, as well as a loving and caring husband to our mother, Carmella, for 55 years. He took great pride in being a grandfather to Jarryl, Anthony, Brandon and Jaleesa. Our dad also wore the title of friend to many, which to him was a true honor.

Read the full tribute to Shorty here. 

Valentin Constantin, Pierre Hotel

Our brother Valentin Constantin, a houseman at the Pierre Hotel for over 33 years, suddenly passed away on April 10, 2020. He was 57.

Pierre Hotel Delegates and co-workers Valda Morgan and Willie Joseph both expressed great sadness when they learned of Valentin’s passing. “I just couldn’t believe it when I heard the sad news. We are really going to miss him,” said Valda. “He was such a nice guy and such a good worker, I can’t believe he is no longer with us,” noted Willie. 

Read the full tribute to Valentin here.

Walter Valderrama Sr., Grand Hyatt

The Union is sad to announce the passing of Walter Valderrama, Sr., our brother from the Grand Hyatt. Water worked at the Grand Hyatt for almost 22 years, first as a dishwasher and later as a houseman.

Carlos Obando, one of Walter’s colleagues at the Grand Hyatt for over 15 years, fondly remembers his friend as the perfect example of a nice guy. “Even though he was quiet by nature, he was really friendly. He was the type of guy who would help anyone without hesitation,” Carlos recalled. 

Read the full tribute to Walter here.

Yi Gao Huang, Doubletree Metropolitan

Our brother, Yi Gao Huang, an engineer at the Doubletree Metropolitan and Union member for the past 10 years, passed away on April 16th, 2020. Family, friends, and coworkers remember Yi Gao as a quiet and hardworking man who was devoted to his family.

Fellow Engineer Herman Sawney remembers Yi Gao as a helpful, trustworthy, and selfless person. “He was a very skilled worker, extremely attentive to his work. Whenever a call came down from a guest, Yi Gao would finish it in an instant. He was always willing to share what he had with others. He was a true friend, and we’re really going to miss him.”  

Read the full tribute to Yi Gao here.

Zackery Sandstrom, Metropolitan Club

We are saddened by the loss of Zachery Sandstrom, a bartender at the Metropolitan Club for over 18 years. Known by many as simply “Zac,” he was a loving father, grandfather and husband. Zac was a native of Chadron, Nebraska, who moved to New York as a young man, who eventually became a beloved figure at the Metropolitan Club where he was known as the “glue” that held people together, leaving a lasting impression on his coworkers and the members at the Club.

His friend and coworker, club waiter Jose Collado, recalls that Zac knew every single member no matter where they were from. “He was loved by everyone at the Club,” said Jose. “To be a good bartender, you have to have a good memory, know a lot of stories and be a skill conversationalist, so Zac was very good at his job. Members would come in and saying, ‘I want a martini, but I want Zac to make it.’”

Read Zac's full tribute here.