Hilton reaches agreement with workers union after 18 months of negotiations

Employees at one Union Square hotel claimed victory Monday following months of contract negotiations and public bickering over health benefits, wages and pensions.

Management of the Hilton San Francisco Union Square reached a tentative agreement with more than 800 employees providing for a four-year wage increase of $2, a $10-a-month pension benefit increase and workload reductions.

Eighteen months of labor negotiations ended last weekend after the hotel reached a tentative agreement with the leaders of Unite Here Local 2, union spokeswoman Riddhi Mehta-Neugebauer said.

Local 2 represents cooks, housekeepers, doormen, and bell and other service employees.

Hilton is one of many hotels and chains in ongoing contract negotiations in The City. It is unknown whether this agreement will set a precedent for other hotels in their contract negotiations with the union. According to Sam Singer, a spokesman for the San Francisco Hotel Council, the remaining hotels will need to review the deal to see if it “makes financial sense” for them.

The agreement, which will be voted on by 850 union members Friday, is a four-year contract, dating back to August 2009 and lasting until August 2013.

Most union employees would receive a slight bump in their next paycheck as the wage increase is retroactive. Jacov Awoke, a doorman with 21 years of service at the hotel, said the agreement is a big victory for employees.

“We accomplished our pension, which makes us happy,” he said.

In a statement, Hilton International representatives said the agreement is good for the company and its team members.

“Hilton’s team members are the company’s greatest assets,” the statement said.

akoskey@sfexaminer.com

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