For immediate release
May 14, 2010
Riddhi Mehta, UNITEHERE! Local 2, [email protected]
San Francisco, CA– California’s largest hospitality union, UNITEHERE, has launched a new campaign designed to draw attention to the safety and ethics records of the popular tour operator, Tauck Tours. This campaign is part of UNITE HERE International’s ongoing efforts to raise awareness about consumer safety in the hospitality and tourism sectors.
The tour operator, Tauck Tours (i.e. Tauck World Discovery, Tauck Bridges, Tauck Cruising and Tauck Culturious) is a privately owned tour operator based out of Norwalk, Connecticut. The company offers guided land journeys, cruises and family travel opportunities internationally.
UNITE HERE’s safety and ethics campaign was kicked off with the release of www.tauckdisastours.org , an ongoing project dedicated to highlighting ethics and safety issues of the company and its contractors. Also referenced in the website are concerns by representatives of UNITE HERE about a growing trend among a number of U.S. tour operators that involve the outsourcing of tour packages to third party companies, some of which have questionable ethics and safety records.
“What’s interesting about Tauck is that they don’t actually own or operate the equipment that is used to transport guests on most of their tours and we feel that consumers have the right to know who they’re really booking with,” says Mark Westerberg, an Outreach Coordinator with UNITE HERE.
According to Westerberg, one contractor highlighted in the website, Tauck contracted with The Grand Teton Lodging Company (GTLC) to host “rafting trips” down the Snake River on Tauck’s Yellowstone & Grand Teton National Parks tour. The website sources news articles and court documents that feature information about a GTLC raft that capsized mid-river, causing the deaths of 3 Tauck tour participants.
Representatives from UNITE HERE Local 2 will be maintaining the website and updating it as new contractor information becomes available.
About UNITEHERE! Local 2:
Local 2, an affiliate of UNITE HERE, is a labor organization that represents tourism industry employees in San Francisco. In addition to representing its members in matters relating to workplace health & safety, Local 2 has been an advocate for consumer rights and corporate transparency.