New Jersey Law Provides Vital Protections for Hotel Workers and Guests

Hotel Voice, Winter 2022

On Tuesday, January 18th, New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy signed into law important new legal safeguards for New Jersey hotel workers and people traveling to the State. The new law includes job security for hotel workers in the event a hotel changes hands and advanced notice of service disruptions (like union picket lines) for guests.

Job Security During Hotel Sales and Management Changes

Under the new law, simply titled “A6246”, New Jersey hotel workers now have job security in the event their hotel is sold or undergoes a change in management or control. The law now requires the new owner or operator to retain the workers for at least 90 days “with no reduction of wages or benefits”. At the end of the first 90 days, the new employer must offer the workers continued employment if their performance on the job is satisfactory – a decision that workers have the right to challenge in court.

While HTC members in New Jersey have even more powerful protections in their union contracts protecting their right to keep their jobs in such circumstances, this new law provides some of the only protections for non-union hotel workers in the State who, as “at-will” employees, are completely vulnerable to being fired or laid off unjustly. It also means that whenever an employer violates our contract language, they will now be violating state law as well.

More protections for consumers

The new law also protects people traveling to New Jersey by requiring hotels to inform guests in advance of service disruptions (ranging from union picket lines to bedbug infestations to no limited wheelchair accessibility or no food and beverage service) and allow guests to cancel their reservations with a full refund.

Our Union has successfully advocated for similar consumer protections in localities across New York and New Jersey including New York City, Newark, Secaucus, North Bergen, and Albany. Now, travelers to New Jersey will have the right to know about such disruptions in advance and choose whether or not to bring their business to a different hotel.

Another reminder of the importance of building political power for working people

Tuesday’s bill signing marks the first time any state has passed legislation with these types of safeguards for workers and consumers and it’s further evidence that when we mobilize in large numbers to elect officials who are on the side of working people, good government and helpful policy is actually achievable.

“I want to thank Governor Murphy, Senator Sweeney, and Assemblyman Karabinchak for acting decisively to protect hotel workers from unscrupulous business practices in New Jersey,” commented HTC President Rich Maroko. “We are fortunate to have leaders in New Jersey who care about working people and are willing to fight for legislation to protect them during these uncertain times."