Friday, September 15, 2006

what kind of power?

After two years, a strike, a lockout, $100 million lost due to the boycott (ahem), lobby takeovers, sit-ins, rallies, VERY early wake-up calls which I won't miss at all, and about a hundred bargaining sessions...

...San Francisco hotel workers have a contract.

It's a great contract.

No, really, you would not believe how good this contract is.

There are literally no takeaways, which is worth repeating. No healthcare cuts, copay increases, elegibility restrictions, or two-tier systems. No subcontracting, no outsourcing. No increased split shifts, no mandatory overtime, no vacation/sick pay restriction schemes. No takeaways. People should understand how rare that is for labor unions right now, especially in the private sector, especially in a volatile industry.

But it's better than that. We also won a higher cap for prescription drugs, and vision care for dependents (now Camille can get glasses for $10).

Pension guarantees ($30/yr service/month) and a window benefit ($35) for folks retiring during the contract term.

$3/hr increase non-tipped, $1.50 tipped over the next three years, plus ~$1/hrs worked since 2004 retro.

Workload reductions for room cleaners and ergonomic improvements for cooks

Ironclad (or as good as it can be) successorship and subcontracting protections

Plus more union leave time, solidarity language for the building trades, and a contract term that expires with Chicago in 2009. So we're already lining up for the next coordinated national fight.

And the most important thing we won, the best contribution we made to the future of hotel workers: Card check neutrality with Hyatt, Hilton, Starwood, Intercontinental, Omni, and Four Seasons on new and acquired properties for all of San Francisco and San Mateo county.

So 4,000 workers fought it out and reminded the rest of the labor movement (and the San Francisco progressive community) that when you're disciplined, aggressive, and you never give up, you can actually win.

But there's still 5,000 others without a contract, so I have to go back to work.

More frequent blogging to come, I hope.

(also, folks who don't know the response to the question posed in the title need to spend more time on a picket line)


sarah said...

i gotta learn more about those "window benefits" though...we don't get those in SEIU. love, S

zach said...

union power.

I've spent more than enough time on a picket line in the last year.

But seriously, that sounds like ana amazing contract, especially the room attendant workload language and the card check stuff. It's like the subcontracting language in the '96 Yale contract, only in reverse!