September 15, 2004

Hotel union contracts are expiring this week in several cities, and workers have voted on whether to authorize a strike if necessary. The vote gives union leaders the option of declaring a work stoppage -- within days in some cases -- if agreements are not reached.

-- In Los Angeles, hotel workers authorized a strike at nine hotels. According to Unite Here (formerly the Hotel and Restaurant Employees Union International), 2,900 hotel workers in Los Angeles have been working without a contract since August.

-- In Washington, D.C. -- where labor contracts expire today for 3,800 workers -- union members at 14 local properties also authorized a strike.

-- In Atlantic City, N.J., members of Local 54 of Unite Here voted 8,020 to 108 in favor of authorizing a strike, which might start as early as this Friday if a new contract is not approved.

-- In San Francisco, 8,000 union hotel workers from 60 properties, including 14 of the city's major meeting properties, voted yesterday on whether to authorize a strike. Contracts expired in August, and Unite Here has been negotiating with hotel representatives since July 20, but no mutual ground has yet been reached. Polls closed at 10 p.m. EST last night, with organizers expecting members to authorize a strike.

Delta Air Lines last week announced plans to eliminate its hub at Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport, reducing its 256 daily flights to 21 by Jan. 31. The move -- which comes as part of an effort to save the airline $5 billion by 2006 -- will reduce DFW's total departures next year by 21.4 percent and will eliminate service to 13 U.S. destinations, including Columbia, S.C.; Mobile, Ala.; Savannah, Ga.; and Tallahassee, Fla. Airport officials said they expect the lost service to be picked up by other carriers but declined to comment on which airlines might expand or initiate new service to DFW.

Fairmont Hotels & Resorts Inc. will manage the The Savoy, one of London's landmark properties, contingent upon sale of the hotel to His Royal Highness Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Bin Abdulaziz Al Saud and the Bank of Scotland Corporate from current owner Quinlan Private. The sale is expected to take place in January, according to a Fairmont spokesperson; at that time, the hotel chain plans a $48 million renovation of the property's 263 guest rooms, 13 meeting rooms and public spaces.

The damage from Hurricane Ivan is still being tallied in the Caribbean. Flights to the Cayman Islands are suspended at least until today. In Grenada, the 66-room Spice Island Beach Resort will close for one year. No major resort closures have been reported in Aruba, Barbados, Jamaica and other islands. Meanwhile, updates from Grand Bahama Island are in regarding the damage from Hurricane Frances. The 845-room Crowne Plaza Golf Resort & Casino at the Royal Oasis will be closed for three months. The 519-room Sheraton at Our Lucaya reopens Oct. 1 and the 751-room Westin at Our Lucaya reopens Nov. 1.

Rocco Forte Hotels will build a new 160-room property in Munich. The hotel, to be completed in 2007, will have a spa and eight meeting rooms.