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National Labor Relations Board Issues Complaint
Against Hilton Hartford Management For Bad
Faith Bargaining with Hotel Workers
Hilton Employees Continue Fight to Keep Jobs after Sale to New Owner

Hartford - December 3, 2003 – Today employees at the Hilton Hartford hotel announced that the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) has issued a complaint against the hotel’s management company, Interstate Hotels and Resorts, for “failing and refusing to bargain collectively and in good faith.”  The complaint was in response to the Hilton workers’ charge that hotel management had refused to negotiate with them regarding the sale of the property to The Procaccianti Group.

In early August 2003, the hotel announced to employees that the Hilton’s owner, MeriStar Hospitality Corporation, had reached a tentative agreement to sell the hotel to Procaccianti.  When the workers requested negotiations over the sale on September 8, however, Interstate refused.  The workers then filed an unfair labor practice charge with the federal government on.  The NLRB issued its complaint against the Hilton on November 21.

Interstate ultimately agreed on November 10 to negotiate – less than 24 hours before the final purchase and sale agreement was signed.

Interstate’s more than two-month delay in negotiating gave the Hilton time to exclude the employee’s concerns from sale discussions.  Most importantly, say union representatives, the tentative sale agreement from August – signed by MeriStar and Procaccianti – included a requirement for Procaccianti to offer work to the current employees.  However, the final deal made no such provision.  Under the final agreement, Procaccianti must only take job applications from the current employees.

According to the workers’ union, the delay in negotiating means that Interstate has claimed that it cannot agree to the workers’ proposal that Interstate and MeriStar require that Procaccianti accept the current employees.  “First they illegally refused to negotiate and now they claim it is too late for them to accept our proposal.  How is that fair?” asked Juanetta Bryce, a 27-year Hilton employee and a member of the workers’ bargaining team.

In addition, Hilton workers want to know why Procaccianti will not agree to hire them.  “If Procaccianti agreed in August to offer us jobs, why can’t they do it now?” wondered Bryce.  “They say they’re buying an empty building, but back in August they acknowledged that real people actually work here.  We don’t understand why Procaccianti won’t offer us jobs, just like every other new employer has done here since the 1970s.”

Negotiations between the workers and Interstate are ongoing.  According to the union’s chief negotiator, Jeremy Haicken, Interstate’s opening offer was “woefully inadequate, especially given that the workers may be out of work for 12 to 18 months, and possibly even longer if Procaccianti does not agree to hire them.”  The two sides will meet again next week.

(Note: MeriStar and Interstate are closely-linked corporations.  According to MeriStar’s web site, “MeriStar and Interstate Hotels & Resorts are operated independently but are paper-clipped together through an intercompany agreement and have four common directors.” [see http://www.meristar.com/aboutcom.asp]  Additionally, “All of MeriStar's hotels are managed by a separate, independent company, Interstate Hotels & Resorts.” [see http://www.meristar.com/aboutco/hospitality.asp])

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Contact:
 Jeremy Haicken
 Hartford Area Director
Local 217 
Hotel Employees & Restaurant Employees Union
 (203) 589-9812
Also See: Procaccianti Group Acquiring 396-room Hartford Hilton from MeriStar; Plans to Close Hotel for $15 million Renovation / Nov 2003
Spurred by the Construction of the Connecticut Convention Center, Significant New Hotel Developments Occurring in Hartford / November 2003


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