Hotel and restaurant union reports two victories


UNITE HERE Local 17 reports wins for two groups of downtown Minneapolis hospitality workers.

At Porter & Frye, the restaurant located in the Hotel Ivy, management has agreed to an interim 90-day contract, according to Martin Goff, senior vice president for Local 17. Porter & Frye workers voted March 12 to unionize but management had been opposing the union position that the Hotel Ivy workers and the Porter & Frye workers all should be covered under the same contract.

The reason for the interim contract, Goff said, is that Hotel Ivy and the restaurant are about to be sold to a new owner. Goff said Local 17 has met with the new owner (who he could not yet disclose) and that the new owner has agreed to accept “a full-fledged union contract.”

In the meantime, Goff said, the interim contract for Porter & Frye workers will include health care, seniority, union rights, discipline and arbitration “all the basic” union protections. Wages and vacation will be negotiated as part of a new contract with Hotel Ivy’s new owner, Goff said.

UNITE HERE Local 17 also will begin negotiations for a new contract for a group of bartenders who work at the State, Pantages, and Orpheum Theatres on Hennepin Avenue. By a margin of 81.5 percent, the workers voted Aug. 21-22 to unionize in a National Labor Relations Board election, Goff said. The 31 bartenders work on-call, part-time.

“We lost an election last year by one vote.” Goff noted. But, since then, Goff said worker sentiment shifted overwhelmingly in favor of the union as workers grew unhappy with new work rules and scheduling.