Farewell, Retirees!

Lynn Hoffard, Regional Director of Local 6 Clubs

Hotel Voice, Winter 2022

Lynn began working in the Grand Hyatt as a banquet waiter in 1981, and later became a delegate. During the 1985 strike, the Grand Hyatt was one of the few hotels to sign a me-too agreement and remain open. To support her fellow union members on the picket line, Lynn and her coworkers raised money, hired a soda truck, and passed out drinks to those on the picket line.

That was where she met Jim Donovan and Peter Ward, who later hired her as an organizer for the Marriott Marquis drive in 1986. During the campaign, Lynn was in charge of organizing the food and beverage department while she continued to work at the Grand Hyatt in the evenings. Shortly after, she became a full time staff member as an Organizer/Business Agent.

During Lynn’s 38 years with the Union, she organized many shops including Tavern on the Green and the Rainbow Room. While her list of big victories is long, Lynn finds the ability to create significant change in people's everyday lives the most satisfying.

"I think about what people have to endure when their managers have so much power over them….with the Union, we can make a change every single day,” Lynn said. “That inspires me. People's courage to stand up to a bully really inspires me. That's the best thing, and I have had hundreds of those little moments, thousands over the years.”

While Lynn believes that the work she has done at the Union is her purpose, she’s excited about the next phase of her life, focusing on her family and enjoying New York. She will miss the members and her coworkers and hopes you all will say ‘hi’ to her if you see her on the street.

John Turchiano, Editor of the Hotel Voice

After serving our Union for 35 years, John Turchiano retired on November 30th 2021. John plans to live in Las Vegas but hopes to visit New York City in the summers.

John’s history with the Union began in 1971 when he became a member of Local 6 working as a waiter and bartender at the Taft Hotel (now called the Michelangelo) while he went to college. John was appointed as a Local 6 Delegate during his six years at the Taft. In 1977, John left New York to pursue graduate studies in California. When he returned in 1986, he was hired as the Editor of the Hotel Voice, which at that time was a weekly newspaper. In addition to working on the Hotel Voice, John was responsible for media and press outreach for the Union for many years.

John served under three Union Presidents and was involved in many of the important moments in our Union’s history including the 1989 Tavern on the Green strike, 1992 Rainbow Room strike, 1994 Harvard Club strike, and 2005 Save the Plaza campaign.

Reflecting on his time in the Union, he shared, “My fondest memories are of working directly with our members, who are, in my opinion, the best people. I have nothing but great confidence in the future of our Union.”

Larry McNeil, Local 56 Business Manager

After 30 years at the Hotel Trades Council, Local 56 Business Manager and former HTC Recording Secretary Lawrence McNeil will be retiring.

Larry first got involved with the labor movement in the 1970s, when he became a shop steward in a paper factory. After attending college and doing a tour in the army, Larry moved to Atlanta where he worked as an organizer with the International Brotherhood of Firemen and Oilers. In 1991, he moved to New York City and became a Local 56 Business Manager.

Over the years, Larry has represented members with grievances and served as the Chairperson of HTC’s Grievance and Arbitration board from 1996 to 2021.

Larry worked with Local 1 and 43 Business Agent Bob Lyons to found the Health and Safety Department of the HTC, which has protected thousands of our members on the job and investigated many dire health safety violations since its founding. Larry and Bob were at the forefront of testing water in hotels and their work helped lead to the City passing a local law that required a watch engineer or other qualified individual to test the water in hotels twice a month. Both Larry and Bob would play a crucial role in helping the Union’s leadership negotiate improved health and safety protections during the Industry Wide Agreement.

As he looks back on his time at HTC he is deeply proud of what has been accomplished. “I think the administrations I served under have each moved the rights and abilities of the membership further than I could have ever anticipated,” Larry said.

Bob Lyons, Business Agent for Locals 1 and 43

In December of 2021, Bob Lyons, the Business Agent for Locals 1 and 43, had his last day at the Union.

Bob first got involved with the Union 18 years ago as a business agent. While he worked on many important projects over the years, fighting for health and safety regulations was his personal favorite. Bob and Local 56 Business Manager Larry McNeil played a key role in improving the health and safety language during the negotiations for the 2006 Industry-Wide Agreement.

“Larry and I did diligent research on the rules and regulations of OSHA. Our work and the willingness of the Union’ members to not back down from a fight led us to get truly revolutionary language, the best I’ve ever seen,” Bob shared.

Bob and Larry were able to investigate countless health and safety concerns at HTC shops – including the notable extensive closure of the Park Central Hotel. Upon inspection of the hotel, they found black mold, electrical issues, dysfunctional sprinkler systems, and leaks and flooding that caused pest issues. While the hotel shut to resolve these issues, members were still paid.

With his retirement officially beginning, Bob looks forward to traveling, fishing, and savoring the absence of his four-hour commute.

“I worked with some excellent people over the years: members, delegates, and staff. And the union leadership was stellar. Thanks to everybody for all the help and support over the years. I will miss everybody,” Bob said.