One down, four to go

The workers of the Sheraton Grand hotel in downtown Sacramento are standing down, having reached a tentative settlement in their contract negotiations with management. The hotel’s employees had threatened a boycott against the hotel if they did not increase health-care contributions, raise hourly wages and reduce the workloads for housekeepers. (See “Hard Bargaining,” SN&R News, November 22.)

The hotel has agreed to raise wages retroactively and increase contributions to the employee health plans so that individuals and families will have lower monthly health-care payments. The hotel’s health contribution will increase every year, starting at $263 per month in 2007 to $408 per month by 2009, according to Josh Eidelson, spokesperson for Unite Here, the union representing the employees.

“That’s going to be really good,” said Marco Hernandez, a server at the hotel, “because the employees [only] have to come up with a small amount of money.”

The hotel’s housekeepers’ workload also will be reduced to 15 rooms per day and they will receive an increased hourly rate for every extra room they check out. Employees also will be able to cash in unused sick days, something they weren’t able to do under the old contract.

“I think this is huge because we are now, with this settlement, the best-paid employees in Sacramento in the hotel industry,” Hernandez said. The union is now setting its sights on nearby hotels: the Hilton, Clarion, Holiday Inn and Radisson, as well.