Fight over severance at nearly 50 shops

Hotel Voice, Fall 2021

Throughout this crisis, our Union has had the pivotal protection of our long-term contracts. Last fall, our Union harnessed the power of those contracts to win over $370 million in severance for our laid off members. While the majority of union hotels fulfilled their obligation and paid the awarded severance to union workers without issue, some employers chose to withhold the payments, in explicit violation of the arbitrator’s legally binding decision.

To secure these severance payments, over the last ten months, our Union’s legal team has had to diligently confront over 50 employers who have either refused to pay severance all together or did not calculate severance properly, in negotiations, arbitration, and even federal court.

As of the end of July, the Union has successfully secured severance pay from nearly 50 shops that originally balked on their obligations. Many had to be dragged back in front of the arbitrator, who affirmed his decision and made it clear that refusal to pay was simply not an option.

Additional arbitrations and settlements are ongoing as the Union works to make these reluctant hotels do the right thing, even when they don’t want to.

“In September, the arbitrator made a clear decision,” explained Amy Bokerman, HTC’s General Counsel. “An employer that just says ‘no’ to a binding ruling is getting themselves into an unnecessary mess. One that they simply won’t win.”