HTC's Growing Presence in New Jersey

In recent years HTC has become the collective bargaining representative of employees at numerous hotels in New Jersey, including the W Hoboken workers seen here. At the upper right of this photo is HTC Recording Secretary and General Counsel Richard Maroko, who was recently appointed to the NJ Transit Board.

Hotel Voice, Spring 2020

It wasn't so long ago when the Hotel Trades Council had little presence in New Jersey. But in recent years the union has become the collective bargaining representative of employees at numerous hotels in the northern part of the Garden State. Along with adding so many members, the union has also won a good deal of respect for its involvement in legislative activity. Further evidence of our union's growing presence in New Jersey took place recently when HTC Recording Secretary and General Counsel Richard Maroko was named to the NJ Transit Board.

Maroko was personally selected for the position at NJ Transit by New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy. His nomination was praised and overwhelmingly approved by the State Senate. An editorial in the Newark Star Ledger also praised Maroko's appointment, calling him "a formidable labor lawyer who understands workforce challenges." Maroko is a resident of New Jersey and is a commutes regularly by rail to Manhattan.

“Thousands of hotel workers in New Jersey rely on public transportation to get to and from work, to take their children to school, and to get just about anywhere," Maroko said. "It’s no secret that NJ Transit is facing enormous challenges, and I’m eager to get to work on behalf of HTC members and on behalf of millions of other New Jersey residents to improve the state’s public transportation system."

Maroko said that his experience as a commuter himself would be helpful in his service on the NJ Transit Board. “I’m acutely aware of the transportation problems faced by New Jersey residents in terms of affordability, accessibility and reliability,” he said. He added that his labor background would be helpful as well, especially because NJ Transit's workforce is largely unionized. "I welcome the chance to lend my personal expertise and hard work to seizing these opportunities and making NJ Transit the reliable resource it should be for millions of people in this state,” he said.

HTC has also experience legislative success in New Jersey. Over the past year, HTC engaged in a lobbying effort to achieve labor harmony requirements that are similar to those it achieved in New York years ago. Working closely with the state legislature, HTC helped craft a bill that would require hotel and casino developers which receive certain state investments to obtain a labor harmony agreement from the union. In effect, this means that HTC will be able to ensure that those hotels and casinos will cooperate with the union during its future organizing drives. This first-of-its-kind legislation in New Jersey will help HTC protect and grow its density, and will reduce the number of non-union hotels that are built and operated across the state.

As a result of the union’s efforts, the bill earned the support of Senate President Steve Sweeney and Assembly Speaker Craig Coughlin, and ultimately passed with overwhelming majorities in both the State Senate and the State Assembly. The bill was signed into law by Governor Phil Murphy on January 21st, making it HTC’s biggest state-wide legislative victory to date. This legislation will impact the union’s ability to organize many hotel workers in years to come. Since the bill’s passage in January, HTC is already engaging on several hotel projects that may be seeking state subsidies to ensure compliance with the new labor harmony law.