Constangy attorney Chris Deubert authored an article for the October 2022 issue of LODGING Magazine offering insight for hotel leaders as the industry, like many others, faces a potential rise in unionization efforts by its workforce. While only 2.7 percent of employees in the hospitality industry are represented by unions, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) reports a massive increase in petitions across sectors, and the hotel industry is likely fertile ground for unionization efforts.
“COVID-19 left the vast majority of hotel-level employees unemployed for a significant period of time,” Deubert explained. “Then, as Americans returned to traveling, hotels (like many industries) were unable to reach pre-pandemic staffing levels.” The constrained supply of qualified hotel workers has increased their leverage to request better pay and benefits, more flexibility and improved working conditions, and hotel employees are increasingly asserting these demands collectively, through a union or the prospect of one.
“Nevertheless, hotel owners and operators need not feel dread about the new labor dynamic in which they may find themselves,” Deubert said. “A thoughtful approach to these issues can leave both the hotel and its employees better off.” Such an approach includes hotels recognizing the value of their employees, carefully considering the extent to which to fight unionization efforts and proactively responding to the things that matter to their employees.
Ultimately, prioritizing a positive and rewarding workplace through modern and creative thinking can provide a competitive advantage for talent, especially as the sector eyes the opportunity presented by the resurgent demand in travel.
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