San Francisco Mayor Convenes Union, Hotel Representatives To Discuss Negotiations
San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom (D) on Wednesday met with locked out unionized hotel workers and their employers at City Hall to mediate their contract dispute, which focuses largely on health benefits and the contract's length, the San Francisco Chronicle reports (Raine, San Francisco Chronicle, 10/28). About 1,400 employees represented by the union Unite Here began a strike on Sept. 29 because they said contract negotiations with employers had stalled.
Workers at four hotels in San Francisco on Oct. 13 ended their two-week strike over contract issues, but the hotels -- and 10 others where employees did not strike -- said they would maintain an employee lockout until they reached a contract settlement. On Tuesday, Newsom joined the hotel workers on a picket line after their employers rejected his proposal for a 90-day cooling-off period (California Healthline, 10/27).
The two sides resumed contract negotiations on Wednesday prior to their meeting with Newsom, during which they discussed the "need to end the lockout" and "how damaging [the dispute] was to the city at large," according to Unite Here Local 2 President Mike Casey. Union and employer representatives continued talks mediated by David Weinberg, an administrator with the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service, until evening and planned to meet again Thursday.
Hotel employers offered a new proposal under which employees' monthly health care contributions would increase from the current $10 a month to $119 a month during the fifth year of the contract (San Francisco Chronicle, 10/29).
The original five-year contract proposal for the San Francisco workers would have increased their contributions to health plan premiums from $10 per month to $32.53 per month during the first year of the contract and to $273.42 per month by the fifth year. The terms of the contract affect about 4,000 workers (California Healthline, 10/27).
Matt Adams, vice president of the San Francisco Multi-Employer Group, said the proposal "provides one of the richest health care offers in the city of San Francisco." However, Casey said the offer "isn't specific." He added, "It's just numbers on a page -- not contract language," noting that the proposal would still drop health coverage for 1,100 workers (San Francisco Chronicle, 10/28).