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Boston Hotel & Restaurant Employees Union and the New
InterContinental Boston Reach Labor Agreement
By Thomas C. Palmer Jr., The Boston Globe
Knight Ridder/Tribune Business News 

April 11, 2006 - The Boston hotel workers union and the new InterContinental Boston hotel on Atlantic Avenue have reached a labor agreement after months of negotiations.

The hotel is scheduled to open on Nov. 1, and Janice Loux, president of the Boston Hotel & Restaurant Employees Union, Local 26, had declared a ''boycott" to force the operator to hire union employees.

Under the agreement, between 150 and 200 of the hotel's 325 employees will be union members, according to Loux and Timothy P. Kirwan, the general manager of the InterContinental.

''This is a very strong agreement, and I think both sides feel good about it," said Loux. ''We see it as a great victory for hotel workers in Boston."

Kirwan said it was ''good news we've come to agreement. We'll work out the details later."

Similar to deals with other hotels Loux has negotiated, this one involves a so-called card-check agreement. Hotel workers will sign cards saying whether they want to be unionized, and an arbitrator can be called in to verify signatures.

If 51 percent or more of the employees sign, the hotel uses union labor in positions that the two sides agree to. In the case of the InterContinental, front-desk employees and some others who deal directly with guests will be nonunion workers.

Loux negotiated a similar agreement with the Hotel Commonwealth in Kenmore Square, where Kirwan worked previously.
The $315 million InterContinental and Residences at the InterContinental, being built by Extell Development Co. of New York, have hit several bumps as they prepare to open.

A dispute over the sidewalk and auto dropoff zone was resolved, but a lawsuit with Equity Office Properties, which plans to redevelop the Russia Wharf buildings next door, is pending. It will not affect the InterContinental's opening.

Loux said she was glad to reach an agreement before the opening of the mirrored-glass hotel complex at 500 Atlantic Ave., overlooking the Fort Point Channel and the Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy Greenway. ''It is going to be one of the most beautiful waterfront hotels that we have," she said.

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