Work rules in union contracts were a key focus of the roundtable produced this year by the Cornell Institute for Hospitality Labor & Employment Relations (CIHLER). As explained by roundtable chair David Sherwyn, the 2015 Labor and Management Roundtable could be considered a historic entry in the roundtable series.
He said: "For the first time in the 15 years that the School of Hotel Administration (SHA) has been hosting roundtables, this April 20, 2015, event included participants from both unions and management. This led to a cooperative and constructive discussion of how to improve labor contracts." A professor of law at SHA, Sherwyn is the John and Melissa Ceriale Professor of Hospitality Human Resources, CIHLER Director, and a Stephen H. Weiss Presidential Fellow.
Roundtable participants represented a "who's who" of labor and management. The ownership and management delegates included John Ceriale, Blackstone's exclusive hotel consultant, Hilton's Paul Ades, Alan Momeyer of Loews, Starwood's George Greene, White Lodging's Harold Morgan, Interstate's Laura FitzRandolph, PwC's Steve Rimmer, Proskauer's Paul Salvatore, and Paul Wagner of Stokes, Wagner.
Representing labor was D. Taylor, President of Unite Here, the world's largest hotel union, as well as Unite Here's Maria Elena Durazo and Marlene Patrick-Cooper, and Neil Ditchek of the Teamsters.
This high-level group addressed the critical issue of union work rules, in which participants divided those rules into two categories. D. Taylor argued there are a number of work rules that people need to manage their lives. Paul Ades then suggested separating work rules into two categories: (1) quality of life and (2) operational.
All parties agreed that quality of life work rules are important. However, they also observed that many long time operational work rules are inefficient and no longer beneficial to either the employees or the employer. At this point, the parties agreed to identify a unionized hotel where it might be possible to negotiate a contract that preserves the essential quality of the life rules, but eliminates seemingly obsolete operational work rules. CIHLER would study the results of this contract and, hopefully, help develop a model to improve labor relations in the Industry – thus, achieving the major goal of CIHLER.
The Cornell Institute for Hospitality Labor and Employment Relations was established in 2013 as a platform for students, employers, employees, unions, and their advocates involved in the hospitality industry. The institute's mission is to support educational programs, sponsor and disseminate research, and hold conferences and roundtables dedicated to the modernization of labor and employment relations, labor and employment law, human resource management, and leadership in the hospitality industry. To learn more about the institute and its projects, visit www.cihler.cornell.edu.
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