UNITE HERE Local 17: Union will step up tactics after one year passes with expired contract at Crowne Plaza Bloomington hotel


Guests at the Crowne Plaza Bloomington hotel near I-494 and Normandale Blvd. soon may be getting “wake-up calls” they did not request. More than one year has passed since the contract there expired for some 50-60 members of UNITE HERE Local 17. Now the union is ready to employ some creative tactics to voice its frustration with the negotiation process and increase pressure for a satisfactory settlement.

“The company doesn’t realize that the union has a three-month plan to disrupt their business,” said Martin Goff, senior vice president for Local 17. “The company will never know what and what type of disruption,” he added.

Negotiations to replace a contract which expired April 30, 2010 have been difficult. When contract talks began, Goff related, “they came right out of the box with take-aways in every single part of the contract… Their whole point was to get to impasse.”

“They made their final proposal to us in early December 2010,” Goff said, but have not imposed a contract — yet.

The company seeks to increase workloads, gain a two to three year wage freeze, and eliminate workers’ pensions.

At the same time, Goff reported, management has lowered room rates and refurbished guest rooms as well as the lobby and kitchen. “They refurbished the whole hotel… which is fine. Just don’t do it on the backs of workers.”

Members of other unions can support Local 17 members at the Crowne Plaza Bloomington by phoning or e-mailing the hotel’s general manager and urging him to settle a fair contract. Contact Charlie LaMont by phone at 952-345-1243 or e-mail at clamont@cpmsp.com.

Bill McCarthy, president of the Minneapolis Regional Labor Federation, has written LaMont emphasizing the MRLF’s full support for UNITE HERE Local 17.

But calls and e-mails from individuals to LaMont “will be very helpful,” Goff said.