It's Your Right to Join!

We belong to the union for hotel and casino workers in New York City, Northern New Jersey, and the Capital District of New York State – the New York Hotel and Motel Trades Council, AFL-CIO (“Hotel Trades Council” or “HTC” for short). We are nearly 40,000 strong.

Our union backs us up and makes sure our managers and supervisors treat us fairly. Our union contracts are the best for hotel workers in the world, with high pay, guaranteed raises, great benefits, powerful job security, fair scheduling rights, seniority, health and safety protections, respect, dignity, and a real say over the decisions that affect our jobs. Union hotel and casino jobs are great jobs.

Our union organizes many non-union hotels every year. Together, with our help, you can bring the union into your hotel too.

With the Union, You Have the Right To Negotiate

If you don’t have a union, you don’t have the right to negotiate with management – nothing is negotiable – and management has the right to make every decision about your job. But as union members, we have the right to negotiate with our bosses over pretty much anything that affects us at work. For us, everything is negotiable, and that’s a great right for working people to have. It means we can challenge any managerial decisions that we consider unfair, and we can constantly negotiate to improve our working conditions. The strength of our numbers, and our solid unity, gives us bargaining power. So we are able to negotiate good deals that benefit us.

Don't Trust "Employee Handbooks"

Most non-union hotels hand their employees an "Employee Handbook," and usually, somewhere in the handbook, management has inserted a “management escape clause” that states that the employee handbook is not a contract between the employer and the employee and that management has the right to change or ignore anything in the handbook, whenever it wants to.

This “management escape clause” means that you can’t trust any of the promises management makes in your employee handbook because the handbook explicitly gives management the right to ignore (or change at any time) anything it promises in the handbook. Employee handbooks are written by the employer and they're not negotiated with the employees. So you shouldn't be surprised that employee handbooks don't give you any enforceable rights.

Read through the employee handbook your employer handed you and try finding the “management escape clause” inside. It's there.

The main reason hotel owners and managers don't like having a union is that they don't want to sign a legally-binding contract with their employees. Non-union hotel workers have no contract – just a worthless employee handbook – and that means management can do pretty much anything it wants to them.

Non-Union "at-will" Employment

Some non-union workers think they don't need a union contract. They think the law protects them more than it does. They say, "I can take care of myself. I know my rights!" Unfortunately, they don't find out the truth until it is too late.

The truth is that non-union workers have very few legal rights. In New York State and New Jersey, the law says that if you don't have a contract with your employer, your boss can fire you for almost any reason or even for no reason at all. This is called "employment at-will." If your hotel is non-union, you don't have a union contract, so you are "employees at-will." This means that you have no job security. Because you don't have a contract, management has the legal right to:

  • Fire you even if you’re a good employee and did nothing to deserve being fired for
  • Reduce your wage rate (to as low as the legal minimum wage) or your hours, at any time
  • Reduce or eliminate your benefits, including: medical insurance, vacation, sick days, personal days, holidays or pension/401k
  • Make you do a different type of job than the one you were hired to do
  • Change or ignore rules or policies that have already been established
  • Add new duties to your job without increasing your pay
  • Increase your workload, without limit
  • Ignore your seniority and give special treatment to employees by favoritism
  • Change your schedule with little or even no notice

Union Contracts

A union contract is a binding legal document, enforceable under the law. A union contract can guarantee that the employees have:

  • Job security
  • Scheduling rights
  • A fair system for settling employee complaints against management
  • Extra pay for doing extra work
  • Seniority rights
  • Reasonable workloads
  • Excellent medical benefits, paid for by the employer
  • A secure retirement plan
  • Health and safety rights
  • Fair treatment and respect at work
  • Additional benefits (including free lawyers, training, college scholarships for our children, etc.)
  • Many other rights that non-union workers don’t have

Contact Us—It's Confidential

If you work in a non-union hotel, we can help you. But at first it’s important that you keep your contact with the Union confidential. Do not tell your co-workers that you’re getting in touch with the Union. We don’t want management to find out about it, until we’re ready. The Union will keep your identity confidential as long as you want us to.

We recommend that you first simply give us your email address and the name of the hotel you work for, and tell us what you’d like to know. We will respond to any questions you have and when you’re ready to talk to a union organizer, we can arrange it.