Workers organize at new luxury hotel in Minneapolis

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The employer was bound to a card-check agreement under the terms of financing provided by the City of Minneapolis to help build the hotel. The City provided $6 million in tax increment financing for the $100 million development, which renovated a historic 1930 Moorish-style tower as part of a larger project that includes 136 hotel rooms, 92 condos, and a 17,000 square foot health club.

The new bargaining unit will include about 50 workers, reported Martin Goff, director of organization for UNITE HERE Local 17. The workers include housekeeping, front desk, bell stand, banquet, and room service.

“It took about two weeks to organize,” Goff said. “We had some people we knew inside from our other hotels.” Once Local 17 recruited an organizing committee, Goff reported, “the committee signed up virtually everyone.” Goff said 86 percent of the workers signed union cards.

Contract negotiations began June 4. “We think we’ll have a contract in short order,” Goff said. “We think the employer is looking to get it done and get on with business.”

Goff said contract issues will include health care and dental care (workers currently have neither), scheduling, clear job classifications and other workplace concerns.

Hotel Ivy, located at 201 S. 11th St. in downtown Minneapolis, opened February 21 and is one of only 10 U.S. locations of the Starwood Hotel and Resort’s Luxury Collection.

Steve Share edits the Labor Review, the official publication of the Minneapolis Regional Labor Federation. Visit the federation’s website, www.minneapolisunions.org