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San Francisco hotel fight cools down

On Saturday, San Francisco’s hotel labor strife took a breather for the next 60 days, as 14 luxury hotels agreed to end a lockout of some 4,000 unionized workers and the workers agreed not to strike and to stop picketing. The truce is expected to save the city’s tourism business during the upcoming holiday season.

Negotiations will continue over issues including medical benefits and retiree benefits and what many consider the crux of union demands—contract term. As noted in “Eventline,” many observers suspect that the hotel union wants to line up contract expirations to hit in 2006 in all major markets across North America. At present, contact terms are negotiated locally. Having contracts expire at the same time in many cities would give the union tremendous leverage over hotel giants Hyatt, Starwood, Hilton and Marriott.

In the meantime, roughly 500 hotel workers in Philadelphia staged a march, vigil and rally last night to draw attention to the seven-week contract dispute between the union and a dozen city center hotels. Hotel workers also picketed downtown Los Angeles hotels last week.

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