Union kicked off bureau registry 

A group that advocates for tourism in The City has removed a workers union from its membership, saying the organized labor group’s recent activities are counterproductive to the goals of the group.

It’s the first time in history that the San Francisco Convention and Visitors Bureau has removed a member from its group, which consists of 1,700 members representing the hospitality industry.

The bureau voted to kick out Unite Here Local 2, which represents 12,000 hotel workers in San Francisco and San Mateo counties, saying the union is working against its bylaws by calling meeting planners and convention organizers telling them not to visit certain San Francisco hotels.

Pat Gallagher, chair of the membership committee for the bureau, said there was no other choice because the union has caused irreparable damage to The City. Hotel officials say The City has lost more than $5 million since the union started calling for boycotts at hotels nearly two years ago.

“No one is under any illusions it will change their behavior, but it will put them on notice that this behavior is counterproductive,” Gallagher said.

Union members shrugged off the expulsion, saying it won’t slow their boycott efforts. 

“The Convention and Visitors Bureau is a trade association funded by hotels,” said Ian Lewis, research analyst for Local 2. “I don’t really think of this as a big deal.”

Meanwhile, negotiations between hotels and the union that started last August when the union’s contract expired remain at a standstill. Health care remains the sticking point, said Richard Curiale, chief negotiator for Starwood Hotels, which represents the St. Regis, Palace, Westin St. Francis and W hotels. He said workers need to share more of the burden of health care costs.

“We are in the same place we were a year ago,” Curiale said. “Health care is still the primary issue, and until we work that out, there won’t be an agreement. Hopefully, we are going to be back at the table soon.”

esherbert@sfexaminer.com

 

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