For immediate release
September 18, 2008
Sam Williamson, UNITE HERE
C: 412-607-8145 ; [email protected]
RENAISSANCE PITTSBURGH HOTEL WORKERS GET FIRST UNION CONTRACT
Pittsburgh – On September 4, workers at the Renaissance Pittsburgh Hotel ratified their first union contract. The 40-month agreement reached between the hotel and the labor union UNITE HERE comes after a six-year organizing campaign and a protracted legal dispute between the union and the hotel.
The Renaissance Pittsburgh Hotel first opened in 2001, and the union won recognition on July 20, 2007. The parties began negotiating in September of last year and reached agreement on a contract covering 160 workers in the housekeeping, food and beverage, banquet and guest service departments. The contract provides for:
Substantial improvements in the quality of health insurance coverage and a reduction in worker co-premiums;
Significant wage increases for all new and existing employees;
Hourly employer contributions to an employee retirement plan;
Job security and new rights on the job, including seniority protections and a grievance and arbitration procedure.
UNITE HERE represents most other downtown Pittsburgh hotels, including the Hilton, Omni William Penn, Westin, Doubletree and Sheraton Station Square. The Renaissance contract will bring wages and benefits much closer to those of other union hotels, where workers enjoy fair wages, affordable family health insurance, and retirement security.
Sam Williamson, Western PA Director of the PA Joint Board of UNITE HERE, said: “We invite all of Pittsburgh to patronize the Renaissance Hotel. We are proud to represent the workers at the Renaissance and to enjoy what is now a productive and cooperative relationship with hotel management. Renaissance employees have worked hard to make their hotel one of the finest in the city and the wage and benefit improvements in this contract will reward them for their hard work.”
Sheila Bruce, a member of the union’s negotiating committee and an employee in the hotel’s housekeeping department, said: “With this contract, we know we will be treated fairly and with dignity. I’ve worked at the hotel for two years, and all we’ve wanted is to be respected for the work we do.”
Tina Marie Richardson, who has worked at the hotel since it opened in 2001, said: “I’m so happy I will now be able to afford health insurance for my kids.”
UNITE HERE is a labor union representing 465,000 members in the hotel, food service, gaming, laundry, apparel and textile industries.