Hotel Voice

A Report from HTC President Rich Maroko:

Hotel Voice, Fall 2020

There is no corner of the globe where this pandemic hasn’t spread. And while we all share many common hardships, we also each feel the impact on a personal and individual level.

For our Union, and our members, we find ourselves in the midst of what are undoubtedly the darkest days in the 82-year history of our Union. Our industry is almost entirely closed down, something that has never happened before — not during the Great Depression of the 1930s, not during the world wars, and not after the terrorist attacks of 9/11. Almost 90% of our members are laid off. No one can say when business will come back or when life will return to normal. Read more...

Staying in the Know during COVID-19: Check the Website, Sign up for Union Text Alerts

Hotel Voice, Fall 2020

We encourage HTC-represented workers to check the website frequently, and sign up for text alerts to get important information from your Union sent right to your phone. Read more...

Benefit Funds trustees expand access to pre-paid legal for thousands of workers

Hotel Voice, Fall 2020

On August 25, 2020, HTC President Rich Maroko convened a special meeting of the trustees of the Benefit Funds. President Maroko proposed a temporary change to the Funds that will expand access to Pre-Paid Legal for thousands of workers covered by the IWA and Division A contracts who have been laid off due to the coronavirus crisis. Read more...

Peter Ward Retires and Rich Maroko Named to Succeed Him

Hotel Voice, Fall 2020

After 41 years of distinguished service, HTC President and Local 6 Business Manager Peter Ward announced he was stepping down from both his Union offices to begin his retirement. On August 12, Mr. Ward and all of the General Officers enthusiastically recommended that the HTC and Local 6 Executive Boards, and Local 6 Delegate Assembly vote to appoint Richard Maroko, the Union’s chief negotiator, HTC Recording Secretary and General Counsel, and Local 6 Executive Vice President to succeed him as the leader of HTC and Local 6. That recommendation was wholeheartedly moved, seconded and enacted unanimously by all three governing bodies, as prescribed in the by-laws of both HTC and Local 6. Read more...

Our Union Negotiates Emergency Safety Agreement to Confront Risks of COVID-19

Hotel Voice, Fall 2020

On August 14, 2020, our Union reached an agreement with the Hotel Association of New York City, Inc. that extends the “Coronavirus Hotel Safety Protocol” through January 1, 2021 and continues until the earlier of either the end of the current, declared state of emergency or declared public health emergency, or an FDA-approved vaccine becomes available at the health centers. This article is a summary of the significant pieces of the safety agreement. Read more...

Union Wins Three More Months of Healthcare and Structured Severance Pay for Workers from IWA and Division A Shops in Landmark Arbitration

Hotel Voice, Fall 2020

HTC President Maroko announced that the Union has won two major victories in a landmark arbitration decision that was issued this morning. This decision applies to approximately 28,000 HTC-represented workers at IWA and Division A shops. Read more...

Members are not Required to Pay Union Dues While on an Extended Layoff

Hotel Voice, Fall 2020

Many members have asked if they are responsible for paying union dues while laid off due to this crisis. The answer is no. In accordance with the HTC by-laws, if you are on an extended layoff for a period of two or more full consecutive calendar months, you are not required to pay union dues. Furthermore, the Union made the decision and has instructed employers NOT to deduct dues from your severance pay. Instead, you can have your membership suspended.

Here are the basics that you should understand about the impact of that decision on you and your union. 

What happens when the emergency funding of the Benefit Funds ends in January?

Hotel Voice, Fall 2020

On September 11th, the Union won an arbitration that requires most hotels covered by the IWA and Division A contracts to provide three additional months of healthcare coverage to workers who have been laid off due to the pandemic. In addition to bringing peace of mind to nearly 30,000 members and their families, the decision provides critical funding to the health benefit funds for the rest of 2020.

“This emergency funding will allow us to run the health centers at full capacity for the rest of the year” said Dr. Jacobson, the Chief Executive Officer of the Funds. “I am very thankful that the Union was able to secure additional funding during this crisis. Without the emergency funding, there is no doubt we would have already had to scale back our operations.” Read more...

What Options Will Laid Off Workers Have When the Healthcare Extension Won by the Union Ends?

Hotel Voice, Fall 2020

During this catastrophe, the federal government utterly failed the people it is supposed to serve and the toll has been more horrific even than most American wars. Our Union, however, has moved mountains to win extraordinary protections and special benefits to assist the workers we represent to get through this emergency. The most important example has been the Union’s success in persuading and compelling a devastated industry to continue to fund healthcare coverage for most of the 40,000 workers we represent (most of whom are laid off) over a period of many additional months.

For those members who are losing their healthcare coverage in the upcoming months, you will have a number of options to either continue your existing healthcare coverage or find alternative healthcare through the state or with a private insurance company. Read more...

Can I receive payment for my paid time off to extend my healthcare?

Hotel Voice, Fall 2020

Before this pandemic, under the long-standing rules of the Industry-Wide Benefit Plan, covered employees were eligible for healthcare if they worked enough hours (functions in the case of banquet servers) or as part of a severance package. Laid off workers were generally  not eligible and payment of accrued time off typically did not extend their eligibility for healthcare.

However, to meet this emergency, on August 25th, HTC President Rich Maroko convened a special meeting of the trustees of the Funds and convinced the trustees to amend the plan so that payment of paid time off would extend healthcare coverage. The trustees also approved a temporary plan that allows the workers we represent to maintain partial healthcare coverage. Read more...

NYC City Council Passes and Mayor de Blasio Signs Law Protecting Hotel Workers and Guests

Hotel Voice, Fall 2020

Last Wednesday, by a vote of 45 to 4, the NYC City Council passed, and on Monday, Mayor Bill de Blasio signed, a new law which will provide vital security for New York City hotel workers, and which will also greatly enhance consumer protections for people traveling to our city.

HTC President Rich Maroko commented, “40,000 HTC members and their families applaud and thank the mayor, the speaker, and all our friends in the City Council for acting decisively to enact critical measures to prevent a small, unscrupulous segment of the hotel owners in this city from exploiting the COVID-19 disaster to profiteer. We are fortunate to have elected officials in this city and state who have acted courageously and responsibly in these terrible times.” Read more...

Using Our Political Power to Pass Safety Legislation in New Jersey

Hotel Voice, Fall 2020

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. Read more...

3,000 HTC-represented casino workers return to work, many to even better jobs than before

Hotel Voice, Fall 2020

In early September, after nearly six months of being shuttered due to COVID-19, New York Governor Cuomo permitted the state’s casinos to reopen at 25% capacity and 3,000 unionized casino workers returned to work.

While non-union hotel and gaming workers across the country face hazardous working conditions amidst COVID-19, HTC-represented casino workers are in the very rare position where their protections on the job have gotten stronger and their wages and benefits have improved during the pandemic. Read more...

New Weekend Pharmacy Hours

Hotel Voice, Fall 2020

In an effort to protect members and Health Center staff, and to make sure that healthcare professionals are where they are needed most, the hours of each Health Center and Health Center pharmacy have been reduced. These reduced hours will allow for Health Center staff to rotate their schedules, which will help limit the risk of infection. The new hours began in March and will continue until further notice. Read more...

Crisis Assistance Programs

Hotel Voice, Fall 2020

The economic effects of the coronavirus pandemic have had a devastating impact on the ability of millions of Americans to meet their most critical needs: housing and food. If you and your family are unable to pay your rent or mortgage, and/or are experiencing food insecurity, the Union has compiled a list of resources that may be available to you at this time. Read more...

Mental Health and Emotional Wellness

Hotel Voice, Fall 2020

The COVID-19 pandemic has brought on feelings of fear, uneasiness, and sadness for many. While the crisis has highlighted the importance of our physical wellness and safety, it is also important during these unprecedented and difficult times to preserve our mental and emotional well-being.

For this reason, your Union has compiled a list of resources and programs for mental health and emotional wellness that you may find helpful during the pandemic. We have included a selection of those resources here.

HTC Helped Get Out the Vote for Biden-Harris, Playing a Role in their Historic Victory

Hotel Voice, Fall 2020

Dozens of HTC members and organizers volunteered to get out the vote for President-elect Joe Biden, Vice President-elect Kamala Harris, and Democratic candidates for the U.S. Senate in the 2020 election. Union volunteers phone banked and canvassed for the candidates in key swing states: Arizona, Florida, Nevada, and Pennsylvania. Their efforts helped to achieve a historic victory for Joe Biden and Kamala Harris in the presidential election, and to win an important Senate seat in Arizona.

College Scholarships Awarded to 22 High School Seniors

Hotel Voice, Fall 2020

There haven't been many good news items in 2020, with the COVID-19 crisis leaving so many of our union's members out of work, but the annual scholarship awards for this year can give all of us hope for the future. A total of $264,000 has been awarded to 22 promising students who are children of our union's members. Congratulations to these scholars and to their parents! Read more...

Prizes Awarded in 2020 Writing Competition

Hotel Voice, Fall 2020

The Coronavirus pandemic has staggered our industry and our country, but has not in any way diminished the talent and creativity of the children of our Union's members. This much was obvious from the essays and narratives submitted to the Union's annual writing competition. There were many excellent entries, and nine of them resulted in the students winning cash prizes. Read more...

Tributes

Hotel Voice, Fall 2020

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.