For immediate release
June 7, 2023
Workers at the InterContinental on The Wharf have won a fair pathway to a union contract, and the dignity, benefits, and power that it comes with
Washington, D.C. – Following two weeks of picket lines, a boycott of non-union IHG (InterContinental Hotel Group) properties in the D.C. area, and months of intensive organizing, workers at the InterContinental on the Wharf are poised to win their union. In an agreement finalized today between IHG and UNITE HERE Local 25, IHG has agreed to an expedient, neutral process for union recognition and bargaining a first contract.
Following the agreement, Local 25 has lifted the boycott of non-union IHG hotels in the D.C. area. Tomorrow’s election will no longer take place. Instead, recognition will be formally determined by a neutral arbitrator’s count of signed union authorization cards. The overwhelming majority of workers in the bargaining unit have already signed cards. IHG has agreed to recognize Local 25 as the representative of the workers once the arbitrator confirms that a majority of workers in the unit signed cards.
“I am so proud of what we’ve won together,” said Wes Waterhouse, a server and bartender at the InterContinental Restaurant. “It’s been a fight to get here, but we have won exactly what we’ve demanded all along: a chance to make our hospitality jobs sustainable for our careers.”
Workers at InterContinental on the Wharf and Moon Rabbit are organizing for respect from management, higher wages, better healthcare benefits, and more transparency around wages. Through their citywide contract, Local 25 members have won complete access to tipping and wage policies in their workplaces, 100% employer funded family healthcare, some of the highest wages in the industry, and powerful protections on the job.
“When hospitality workers stand up for their rights and organize together, we win,” said Paul Schwalb, Executive-Secretary Treasurer of UNITE HERE Local 25. “Workers at the former Moon Rabbit restaurant and InterContinental on the Wharf are about to become the newest members of our union and are on a pathway to reaping the benefits of one of the strongest hotel workers’ contracts in the country.”
“We applaud IHG for doing the right thing here,” Schwalb continued. “We appreciate their commitment to an expedited and fair bargaining process.”
While Moon Rabbit is moving on, there will be another full-service restaurant at the hotel. Hours there have expanded since Moon Rabbit first closed, and some workers’ shifts are beginning to come back online. Once the union has been recognized, any new restaurant at the hotel will be unionized as well.
“I walked the picket line with my kids and organized for a union because I want a better life for myself and my family,” said Petergay Abrahams, a busser at the InterContinental restaurant. “Now I know I can go to work at a job that supports all of us.”
“We’ll be able to go to work with our heads held high,” said Dennis Chambers, a banquet cook at the hotel. “We’ll work in a safe environment with the wages and benefits we deserve. And it’ll be because of our power, because we fought and won.”