Local 856 members in San Francisco recently ratified a new agreement at 23 of the top hotels in San Francisco including the Fairmont, the Palace Hotel, and the Clift Hotel (full list below). The new contract builds upon the strength of their previous contract and covers over 1,000 members who work in reservations, front desk, concierge, and accounting.
“This agreement is one that we all worked hard on and one that I believe is second to none in the hotel industry,” said Local 856 President Mike Lagomarsino who led negotiations along with Local 856 Secretary-Treasurer/Principal Officer Peter Finn. “The new contract represents the continuance of 100% employer-paid health insurance, as well as wage and pension increases for the term of the contract.”
“A special thanks to all the shop stewards and members who participated and who on a daily basis show a commitment as Teamsters to stand together,” Mike continued. “That type of solidarity makes this type of contract possible.”
“We’re continuing to build worker power throughout the hotel industry in San Francisco,” added Local 856 Secretary-Treasurer/Principal Officer Peter Finn. “In the last few months, in addition to securing and ratifying a strong contract, we welcomed new members who work at the W Hotel as well as the Grand Hyatt concierges to our Local 856 family. Both groups are also enjoying the benefits of this contract.”
Nora Johnson has worked at the Hilton San Francisco Union Square for 45 years. She’s also been a Teamsters 856 shop steward for 20 years. She says consistently strong union contracts have helped her maintain a work-life balance, which has led to her longevity at the Hilton. “What I really like is that it’s a union job,” she said. “I liked that I was able to leave at 2:30 while I was raising my kids, so I was always able to attend their games.”
For Nora, the benefits and job security provided by her Teamsters 856 contract with the hotel continues to make a difference in her family’s lives.
“Without it, I wouldn’t have been able to afford to pay off my house because I would probably be paying for my health insurance,” she said. “I also wouldn’t have a pension, and I would be frightful about losing my job because I’m older and wouldn’t have union backing to represent me.”
Scott Rideout works at the front desk of the Palace Hotel. Before he began work at the Palace, he worked at several other hotels in concierge, the gift shop, and as a bellman. He remembers scheduling being a major issue at other hotels where there wasn’t union representation. “When you go into other hotels, there aren’t set hours,” explained Scott. “Even when I started at the Palace and was lowest in seniority, I was at least able to retain a set schedule.”
Local 856 members working in the hotels recognize that they are able to secure strong contracts because of their numbers and solidarity throughout San Francisco. “The more numbers we have, the stronger we are, and the louder our voice,” said Erica Goldblatt, a concierge at the Clift Hotel.
Erica believes having union representation in the workplace is crucial because big businesses aren’t just going to give workers good wages and benefits. “I know of a non-union hotel where employees pay for their health benefits and can be scheduled to work back-to-back for 10 days,” she said.
For Scott and Erica, and many of the other Local 856 members who work at the hotels and live in San Francisco, times would be tough without the guaranteed wage increases in their union contract that give them the chance to keep up with the rising cost of living in the city.
“I live in San Francisco and it’s very expensive,” said Erica. “I feel like our compensation is fair and as a union, we are able to consistently fight for better wages and health care. Local 856 is constantly trying to move us forward.”
“I kid you not, I wear my Teamsters 856 pin with pride at the front desk every day,” said Scott. “When people ask me what it is, I proudly explain that it is my union pin. I’m proud that as a union, we can keep the company honest and ensure we’re treated with dignity and respect.”
Teamsters 856 would like to welcome our new members who work at the W Hotel and the Grand Hyatt concierges to the Local 856 family. Both groups are now enjoying the benefits of this contract for the first time!
Teamsters 856 members work in reservations, front desk, concierge, and room services at the following major hotels in San Francisco:
Hilton San Francisco Union Square
Holiday Inn Civic Center
Westin St. Francis
Marriott Union Square
Mark Hopkins Hotel
Holiday Inn Fisherman’s Wharf
Holiday Inn Express Fisherman’s Wharf
Stanford Court Hotel
Park Central Hotel
Holiday Inn Golden Gateway
Hilton Financial District
Pier 2620 Hotel
Scarlet Huntington Hotel
Sheraton Fisherman’s Wharf
Marriott Fisherman’s Wharf
Hyatt Regency Embarcadero