Hotel Online  Special Report

 Ready for Pluckin'; Hospitality Represents that Fat
Roaster, Just Sitting there, Plump and Contented


by John R. Hendrie, CEO Hospitality Performance, Inc., July 2005

Right there, “above the fold” of Tuesday’s New York Times (7/26/05), an article, headlined, “Ambitions are Fueling a Division of Labor”, an ominous message was delivered to Hospitality operators.  Two major Unions (SEIU and the Teamsters) have withdrawn from Labor’s main Federation, the AFL-CIO.  Two others, the United Food and Commercial Workers and our own UNITE HERE, are not only boycotting the annual convention but also have declared their plans to depart the AFL-CIO, as well.  These moves indicate a stormy road ahead for the Hospitality Industry.  Why, one might ask?

The schism within the Federation revolves around strategy and the perceived lack of leadership.  As an outsider, I would have to agree with the four Unions and their platform.  They are well funded and passionate about their message and direction.  They also are exceptionally talented in organizing the workplace. It boils down to increasing membership in the most viable sector, Service. 

At this point in the Labor Movement it is not about maintaining political clout, delivering historically for the Democratic Party, or remembering yesteryear.  Numbers have dwindled, the manufacturing base has been decimated, and the Democrats lost.  It is about the numbers, and Hospitality represents that fat roaster, just sitting there, plump and contented. 

We are the Service Sector, and we cannot move our operations offshore.  And, where does the Union message resonate the best – with the “disenfranchised”.  Does your Workforce represent the ideal Union profile to be organized:

  • lower paid employees
  • primarily female
  • less formally educated
  • a member of a minority or immigrant group 
Some Hospitality Businesses feel they are exempt from the possibility of a union organizing attempt.  They would be dead wrong.  Strong Unions can bring cities to their knees with examples of Los Angeles and San Francisco most recently in the news.  And, you are not safe from the type of business you are in, for the Service Sector is all around – the laundries, the parking lots, the janitorial services.  We are surrounded!

I find the unpreparedness and complacency within our Industry astounding.  The major players spend an enormous amount of money protecting their non-union status or fighting organizing attempts, yet what readily appears on today’s horizon is dismissed by most others.  And, they have no excuse, except for perhaps arrogance or wishful thinking,

What you need to do right now is the following:

  • Review your internal policy and procedures to ensure that they are being administered fairly, consistently and equally.
  • Find a means to do an Employee Relations “check” on your staff, find the areas of discord, meet with your employees, open communication.
  • Consider appropriate training for your staff and your Supervisors/Managers, emphasizing proactive Employee Relations.
  • Have Legal Counsel/Consultant provide an audit of your business to uncover shortcomings and potential problem areas.
  • Task your Afiliations (Chambers, CVB’s, Hospitality Associations) to be on top of issues and prepared to address them for the community at large, emphasizing Workshops, Roundtables, Seminars.  Do keep in mind that Meeting Planners will avoid your area and your Businesses with any hint of unrest. 
  • Become informed yourself.  To be candid, I have seen little written or spoken about the “Plum”, which Hospitality represents, which is surprising.  But, I do not think you need to be a visionary to figure this one out.
Our employees are our messengers, our representatives who deliver the valuable products and services of our businesses.  I would prefer to deal directly with them than through third party representation.  Wouldn’t you?  Our employees are that most remarkable asset.  You cannot afford to be shortsighted in this matter, and, with the proper attention, you might even run a better operation.  Let me know your thoughts at
John R. Hendrie, CEO
Hospitality Performance, Inc.
Also See: Literally Every Destination Marketing Organization Is Under Duress; The Challenge to CVB's / John R. Hendrie / July 2005
A Smile is Really a Simple Thing – an Expression of Welcome, No Cost Involved / John R. Hendrie / July 2005
Lead the Trend to Becoming Guest-Centric; Demonstrating Behavior Not Normally Experienced by the Guest / John R. Hendrie / June 2005
Hospitality QED, That's Latin to Me! / John Hendrie / June 2005
Unless You Operate a Business in a Very Remote Location, You Belong to the Amorphous “Brand-Scape” /  John R. Hendrie / June 2005 
Maximize the Performance of Your Greatest Asset - Your Employees / John R. Hendrie / May 2005
Preparing for the Assault by Organized Labor on Hospitality / John R. Hendrie / May 2005
Customer Service - Panacea or Placebo / John R. Hendrie / May 2005
How to Even the Playing Field, As Independents Suspiciously Eye the Chain Hotels / John R. Hendrie / April 2005
Oh, What a Web We Weave! Pitfalls with Descriptive Language / John R. Hendrie / April 2005
Woe is We! We in Hospitality Have Lost Touch and Share the Responsibility for Consumer Cynicism, Angst and Ennui / March 2005
Moving the Guest Comment Card from Paper to Paperless / John Hendrie / March 2005
Myrtle Beach Area Hospitality Association Launches 'Total Quality Destination' and Presents 'Gold Star of Excellence Awards' / March 2005
The Evolution of Guest Room Amenities / John Hendrie / February 2005
Advertising Integrity; Framing the Visitor's Expectation Through Print, Signage & Internet / John Hendrie / February 2005
Hospitality Trade Associations:  What Have You Done for Me Lately? / February 2005
I Would Like to See your Hospitality Standards. Where Are They? Anybody Seen Them? / John Hendrie / January 2005
Remarkable Hospitality - the Road Map to Excellence; Exceeding the Expectations of our Guests / John Hendrie / January 2005
Are Your Guests Expecting Mediocrity with Your Hospitality Services? Move Your Level of Excellence to the Remarkable / John Hendrie / December 2004
Guest Services - A Tradition Diminished / John Hendrie / December 2004
Rescue from Mediocrity; The Decline of Service Etiquette - A Sequel / John Hendrie / November 2004
Offering Crushed Pepper Before Tasting the Entrée; The Decline of Restaurant Service Etiquette / John Hendrie / October 2004
Destination Marketing – How to rebuild your Reputation and the upcoming Season after the Hurricanes / John Hendrie / September 2004
Six Factors Which Dictate Success in Performing Destination Marketing / John Hendrie / September 2004
Influencing the Consumer to Book Business through Your Commitment to Quality / Aug 2004
Major Hotel Operators Have Rediscovered Hospitality Fundamentals by Revisiting the Guest Room / John R. Hendrie / July 2004
Destination Marketing 101: Take Care of Mom / John R. Hendrie / June 2004
Service Unions Combine, Presenting Huge Challenge to Hospitality Industry / John R. Hendrie / March 2004
What Value Quality? Most Hospitality Operators Use the Term “Quality” In their Advertising. What Exactly Does that Mean? / John R. Hendrie / April 2004

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