by Jonathan Vatner | May 01, 2006

chartPlanners clearly are not fond of hotel unions. An incredible 87 percent of those surveyed are unsympathetic to union methods, as they perceive them. More than two in five (42 percent) prefer not to plan meetings with unionized hotels -- with 4 percent outright refusing to use them -- and 52 percent say if a hotel were in a strike situation, they would move the meeting to another hotel.
    To some extent, this distaste is from personal experience. More than one quarter of respondents (26 percent) have held a meeting at a hotel that was experiencing union action. Also, UNITE HERE, the hotel and textile workers’ union, has contacted the planning department, attendees and/or boards of directors of 9 percent of respondents in efforts to persuade the group to move their meeting elsewhere. Not a large percentage, but still significant.
    Yet, a number of planners could use education on union issues. Only 28 percent of those surveyed are chartfamiliar with UNITE HERE, and when conducting site selection, just 41 percent typically ask hotels when union contracts will expire -- an important question for planners who don’t want to hold a meeting in the midst of a strike. Still, three quarters of respondents know to insert language in the contract to address union unrest.
    Of those planners who have had the misfortune to hold a meeting in the middle of union action, 39 percent simplified their room sets and banquet menus so less labor would be required, and 20 percent asked the union to pause picketing during key times in the program. (For more information on what to do in a strike situation, see this month’s cover story, "Strike-Proofing Your Meeting.").

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