Union wins contract extension for Americana Inn, Avalon, Shoreham, and Life Hotel

May 14, 2020 5:12 PM

The New York City hotel industry has been hit extremely hard by the coronavirus crisis. At a time when hotels would normally be at 90% occupancy, New York City hotels are reporting just over 40%. Despite the lack of revenue and uncertain timeline for re-opening tourism in the City, on May 12, 2020, Union leadership won an extension to the Division A Contract for over 120 employees at the Americana Inn, Avalon, Shoreham, and the Life Hotel.

Security During Uncertain Times

In 2015, the Union leadership negotiated an extension to the Division A Contract until June 30, 2027. That contract was distributed and ratified by 99% on October 15, 2015. A handful of properties – including the Americana Inn, Avalon, Shoreham, and Life Hotels - did not sign on to the contract extension or a me-too agreement. For those properties, the Division A Contract was set to expire at midnight on June 30, 2020, but has now been extended until June 30, 2027— providing 7 more years of security and stability. This contract extension means that the Union’s delegates, business agents, and legal team will have the full force of the contract behind them in the upcoming months.

The Division A contract, like all union contracts, is a binding, legal document that is enforceable under the law. The Division A contract guarantees Union-represented employees many important rights and protections which non-union workers don’t have. Among the most critical of those rights, is access to an impartial grievance and arbitration procedure. The contract’s grievance and arbitration language provides for a fair system for resolving disputes between management and the workers – one that management doesn’t control. Any dispute that arises between the workers and these hotels over the next 7 years, won’t have to be settled in a strike or picket line, but can argued in front of an impartial arbitrator.

Other important protections that will remain in effect for the next 7 years, are the recall and rehire, seniority, and safety and health provisions.  Recall and rehire rights give employees the right to be called back to their jobs when the industry re-opens. Maintaining seniority rights will guarantee employees are offered the opportunity to return to work in order of seniority, not based on favoritism. And Article XIV, “Safety and Health” gives employees the right to a safe and healthy working environment, proper ventilation on the job, any necessary safety equipment, and the right to refuse any unsafe work assignments. 

“When the hotel industry gets back up and running, workers should expect management to try and eliminate positions, implement new technology, and use this opportunity to improve their bottom line” explains HTC President Peter Ward. “It is more important than ever that we have a strong, vibrant Union, an active membership, and that we secure our contracts for the long-term.”

Wage Increases for the Next 7 Years

Workers covered by the extension will receive wage increases of $1.00/hour (for non-tipped workers) and $0.50/hour (for tipped workers) each July 1st, starting this year through July 1, 2026. Workers will also receive an annual increase on all wage related items, including extra room pay and night shift differential. 

Guaranteed Healthcare during the Coronavirus and More Funding in the Years Ahead

On the evening of March 30, 2020, the Union won an arbitration case that extended family healthcare benefits for 4 months for those workers laid off due to the Coronavirus in Division A hotels. This contract extension goes a step further, increasing future contributions to the health benefits fund and secures free, comprehensive, family health care throughout the 7 years. 

“It was very difficult to get these hotels to agree to 7 years of wage increases and to continue free medical benefits at a time of such economic uncertainty for the hotel industry” explains HTC’s Recording Secretary and General Counsel Rich Maroko. “It is more important than ever to have the protections of a union contract that guarantees workers real rights, including the right to a safe and healthy working environment.”

Members Breathe a Sigh of Relief

“The future feels more uncertain than ever before in my lifetime. We don’t know when tourists will return to New York City again, when we will be able to go back to work, and when our lives will return to normal” says Fidelia Martinez from the Shoreham Hotel. “When I heard that our Union won extended medical coverage for the 4 months while we are laid off, I was able to breathe much easier. Now, we got the news that we won an extension to our contract for 7 more years. I am so grateful to have an organization that watches out for us and fights hard to make sure we can keep supporting our families during this crisis.”

Negotiations Continue at Several Other Division A Properties

While the majority of Division A hotels have now signed onto the extension, the  Union leadership and legal team continue to negotiate an extension to the Division A contract at a handful of hotels: the Holiday Inn LaGuardia, the Sanctuary Hotel, Midtown Convention Center, and the Stanford. We will continue to keep you updated. 

Click here to read the article published in the Hotel Voice in October 2015, when the extension was ratified. If you have questions about your contract, you can call: (212)-245-8100 and press 1 to speak to an organizer.