Hotels reject union deal; mayor ready to step in

The prolonged talks between San Francisco hotels and union workers has yet to produce a contract, and there does not seem to be an immanent deal either.

On Thursday, the Grand Hyatt rejected the union’s one-year contract proposal and has not provided the union with a counterproposal, according to Local 2 spokeswoman Riddhi Mehta.

A contract between hotels and their employees expired on Aug. 14, and efforts to hammer out a new contract have been unsuccessful so far. Health care is the main sticking point in contract talks, though wages and the length of the contract are also at issue.

Last Thursday, members of the Unite Here! Local 2 union walked out of the Grand Hyatt Union Square. That walkout was followed by another at the Palace Hotel on New Montgomery Street.

We caught up with Mayor Gavin Newsom at an event at the Golden Gate Yacht Harbor on Friday morning, and though he was reticent to discuss his decision not to run for governor or how life as a new parent has treated him, he spoke at length about the dispute between the city’s 61 hotels and their employees.

Asked what he thought of the union’s latest contract offer, Newsom said that “by most objective standards, it’s a modest offer.”

“The question is, it’s a one-year deal, and the hotels are looking potentially for a longer-term deal,” he said. “But there’s uncertainty in the longrun, so how can you negotiation two or three years out with the macroeconomic uncertainties?”

He said he doesn’t think the dispute has affected the San Francisco economy – yet.

The mayor said he doesn’t currently have any planned meetings with the negotiating parties, but the mayor’s office is poised to be “pulled in as needed.”

 

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