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Hotel Lawyer: What do the labor settlements really mean? How does it affect you?

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16 September 2006
For this comment, I talked with my partner, Marta Fernandez . She is one of the senior members of our Global Hospitality Group® who specializes in labor and employment issues related to hospitality. Her background and contact information are provided below.

As the strike threats resolve in New York, Chicago and now San Francisco and Monterey, one has to ask, “What does it all mean?” What is the significance, for example, of the deal Local 2 of UNITE HERE cut with the 13 San Francisco hotels making up the SFMEG (San Francisco Multi-Employer Group).

In my blog entry of September 14, 2006, I summarized the tentative San Francisco labor agreement, and raised the question of what was accomplished.

The union would like us to think that the deal with MEG sets the standard for everyone else and they have said as much. In giving Local 2’s description of the San Francisco settlement, the Pacific Business News said on September 13, “Unite Here Local 2, confirming a tentative contract agreement in San Francisco, says 4,000 workers will vote on it on Sept. 22. The contract will affect 9,000 workers, total, however, because dozens of other San Francisco area hotels typical adopt contract terms similar to those agreed to by the major chain properties.”


While the union takes the position that the 13 hotel SFMEG agreement should serve as a model agreement for the other SF area hotels that are not a part of the multi-employer bargaining group, the law requires arms length negotiations which each individual hotel. Nothing mandates that hotels adopt a “me too” agreement as the union proposes. The independent hotels can and should consider the specific needs of their operations, and negotiate the economic as well as non-economic proposals according to their agenda, not the union’s.

Marta Fernandez is a senior member of the Global Hospitality Group® and a partner in the Firm’s Labor & Employment Group. A management labor lawyer with more than 20 years’ experience, Marta specializes in representing hospitality industry clients in all aspects of labor and employment, including labor-management relations such as union prevention, collective bargaining for single as well as multi-employer bargaining units, neutrality agreements and defense of unfair labor practice charges before the NLRB; implementation of preventative management strategies, such as executive training, arbitration enforcement and policies and procedures; defense of administrative and litigation claims, such as employee claims of sexual harassment and discrimination. For more information please contact Marta Fernandez at 310.201.3534 or

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