Hilton reaches deals with unions in Chicago, San Francisco, Honolulu

UNITED STATES Labor union Unite Here has reached agreements to end 18-month disputes with Hilton Worldwide in Chicago, San Francisco and Honolulu, covering approximately 4,000 workers.

The new contracts maintain benefits at current levels and provide modest raises. Housekeepers will clean the same number of rooms a day, roughly 16, and a room attendant making US$14.60 per hour will earn US$16.40 an hour by the contract’s end, Chicago Tribune reports.

The agreements, which are tentative and still require official ratification by union members, are for four years retroactive to August 2009. Ratification votes are scheduled for this week and are expected to pass.

“We’re glad to have a contract that is fair to both the hotel and the union,” Michael Dunne, general manager of Hilton San Francisco at Union Square, tells San Francisco Chronicle.

In announcing the agreements, Unite Here says it will seek to ramp up pressure on other hotel companies that have yet to reach new deals, including Hyatt Hotels Corp., Marriott International, IHG and Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide. About 50 hotels flagged by those companies remain without labor deals.

Mike Casey, president of Unite Here Local 2 in San Francisco, says Starwood canceled a bargaining session scheduled for Friday after learning of the Hilton agreement. Starwood officials have not commented on that claim.

In Honolulu, about 2,000 workers at four Starwood properties voted last week to authorize strikes.

The relationship between Unite Here and Hyatt is increasingly contentious, as well. Last week, four Hyatt properties in California and Indiana filed petitions with the National Labor Relations Board to determine through secret-ballot elections whether Hyatt associates want to be represented by Unite Here.