Accord Reached in Strike at N.Y. Hotels : End to Walkout Seen as Both Sides Weigh Ratification of Pact
A tentative settlement was reached Wednesday in a 26-day-old strike that crippled service at most of the city’s best known hotels.
If the contract is approved, 16,000 chambermaids, bellhops and other workers could be back on the job within days, officials said.
“We are going back to our people for ratification,” Albert Formicola, president and chief negotiator for the Hotel Assn. of New York Inc., and Vito Pitta, president of the Hotel-Motel Trades Council, said as they emerged from the talks.
Later in the afternoon, the association’s board unanimously approved the pact.
Pitta said that the council would possibly call a membership meeting today.
The union, which represents workers at 165 hotels, limited the strike to 53 of the most famous and expensive, including the Plaza, the Pierre, the Waldorf-Astoria, the New York Hilton and the Sheraton Centre. As a result, only 16,000 of the union’s 25,000 members walked out when their contract expired June 1.
In the early days of the strike, hotel guests had to pick up clean towels and forgo room service, clean bed linen and other amenities. Some of the most sumptuous lobby bars and restaurants were closed for the duration, and management said it may take several days for these to reopen as food inventories are replenished.
But the guests, many paying more than $100 a night, were generally tolerant of the hotels in their assessment of the strike’s effects. Many complained, however, about the chanting and whistling of pickets who lined up outside their hotels.
The terms of the new contract were not released pending ratification by both sides.
Under the old contract, the workers, including cooks, dishwashers, chambermaids, handymen, bellhops and doormen, earned an average of $315 a week.
The union initially sought raises of about 6% in each of the next four years. Management had offered 4% in the first year, declining to about 2% in the fourth year.