For immediate release
May 26, 2005
Worker action wins agreement that improves wages, health care and retirement
On Monday, May 23rd, members of UNITE HERE Local 274 ratified a new (3) three-year contract with the Hilton Garden Inn. A secret ballot ratification vote was held at the hotel after a presentation of the contract improvements was made to the members. The new contract was ratified overwhelmingly during meetings held at the hotel. UNITE HERE Philadelphia Joint Board Director Lynne Fox was the chief negotiator for the union.
“My co-workers and I are very excited about our new contract. Everybody worked so hard and showed so much solidarity. We won and we are looking forward to June 1st when this goes into effect. We wore buttons, marched in the street and stood strong as a group and it paid off’, concluded Deborah Blunt Hill, a member Bargaining Committee from housekeeping, at the end of the ratification meeting.
The new contract contains many improvements including expanded health insurance coverage that includes the members’ children and spouses. Employees will also see their wages increase by 3.5% in each year of the agreement. Housekeeper pay will reach $13.80 per hour during this new agreement. Because the previous contract expired on September 30th, all members will receive a retroactivity payment equal to 2.5 % of their rate of pay for September thru May 31st 2005.
Other contract hi-lights include; the ability to reduce the number of rooms a housekeeper is required to clean based on floor travel, length of service, or day of the week. This is significant, as many housekeepers experience pain and discomfort as a result of their backbreaking work. This contract also provides for participation in a 401K Plan.
“We are very pleased with this settlement” stated Lynne Fox, chief negotiator for UNITE HERE “The union membership set as a goal; improvements in the health insurance, reducing the room quota for our senior room attendants and a number of other improvements which we were able to win and I think this majority vote demonstrates that the negotiating committee and membership were quite pleased with the settlement” she concluded.
UNITE HERE is the merged union of hospitality, gaming, apparel, textile and laundry workers. The new union represents nearly half a million workers in the U.S., Canada and Puerto Rico, including about 100,000 hotel workers. Learn more about us at www.unitehere.org.