After almost two years of working without a contract, San Francisco hotel workers concluded a new contract this week with the Multi-Employer Group (MEG), that encompasses five years, three years forward and two years back. The contract grants higher wages, better pensions and full healthcare benefits to more than 4,200 members of UNITE HERE Local 2.
"It shows that when we start together fighting for our rights, we can keep whatever we deserve," said Rafael Leiva, 33, who delivers room service at the Hyatt Regency. Most importantly, the contract includes card check for all future hotels by all the MEG employers in San Francisco and in all of San Mateo County. Local 2 still faces the task for settling with a large number of hotels which are not in the MEG, including the San Francisco Marriott.
In Chicago, UNITE HERE Local 1 announced a tentative agreement with Starwood covering over 900 workers at five hotels. The agreement was reached Tuesday with Tishman Hotels, the owner of the Sheraton Chicago, and yesterday with Starwood Hotels, which owns and operates four other properties: Westin Michigan Avenue, the W City Center, the W Lakeshore Drive and the Tremont.
"We are very pleased to reach this settlement with Starwood. With the conclusion of bargaining, nearly 7,000 Chicago hotel workers will see major progress in wages, benefits and working conditions," said Henry Tamarin, President of UNITE HERE Local 1. "In addition, we expect to see a ripple effect as non-union hotel workers in Chicago also receive raises." The tentative Chicago agreement with Starwood parallels one reached with Hilton on August 31 and Hyatt on September 3. Another 11 Chicago properties have signed "me-too" agreements with the union. A "me-too" agreement means the hotels will adopt the same terms negotiated for the Starwood- managed properties.
And in Monterey, UNITE HERE Local 483 reached an excellent settlement with two Hyatts early this morning. The contract is a four-year agreement, with wage increases for non-tipped workers, an increase for health and welfare, pension increase, and other important language.