News for the Hospitality Executive
|By Fred O. Williams, The Buffalo News, N.Y.
Knight Ridder/Tribune Business News
Dec. 10, 2003 - About 200 workers are scheduled to hold a union vote at the Adam's Mark Hotel next month, setting up a labor showdown at Buffalo's biggest hotel.
Desk clerks, waiters, housekeepers and other workers will vote Jan. 8 on whether to join the hotel and restaurant worker union, according to the National Labor Relations Board.
"It would be very important for us to win," said Paul Taylor, business manager of the Hotel Employees & Restaurant Employees Local 4 in Cheektowaga. "We haven't had a successful organizing drive for quite some time."
The hotel and restaurant union represents workers at four area hotels: the Radisson and the Best Western Inn in Buffalo; the Park Plaza in Cheektowaga, formerly the Radisson-Airport, and the Holiday Inn Select in Niagara Falls.
The election will be a test of strength for the service sector union, coming at an employer that is already in a battle with organized labor.
The Adam's Mark is under an AFL-CIO boycott stemming from a labor dispute that began in 2000. That year the hotel's maintenance workers voted to join the Operating Engineers union, but have yet to obtain a contract from management.
The maintenance workers' union and other AFL-CIO members picket the Adam's Mark twice a week over the hotel's smoldering dispute with Operating Engineers Local 17. The union charges that the hotel is stalling in contract talks, a charge that management has contested in labor board hearings. The charges were dismissed by the NLRB's regional office in Buffalo, an action Local 17 is appealing.
Fred S. Kummer, chief executive of the Adam's Mark chain, wouldn't comment, a spokesman said. HBE Corp. in St. Louis is the corporate parent of the hotel chain with 23 locations nationwide.
With 486 rooms and 72,000 square feet of meeting space, the Adam's Mark near Buffalo's waterfront bills itself as the largest convention hotel in Western New York.
Local 4 represents about 1,000 workers, many of them part-year food service workers at seasonal venues like the HSBC Arena and Dunn Tire Park, Taylor said.
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