Some good news as New York City hotel workers won a three-month healthcare coverage extension and additional severance payments Friday through an arbitrator’s decision, the Daily News has learned.
The decision comes as the city’s hotel industry and the workers who staff it continue to face a dire future brought on by the coronavirus pandemic, which has decimated the tourism industry.
Under the arbitrator’s decision, members of the Hotel Trades Council, which represents about 35,000 hotel workers in the city, will now be entitled to supplement their unemployment checks with severance payments, which combined would equal their regular wages, according to a source with knowledge of the decision.
Severance payments would continue until either the worker is recalled when a hotel re-opens or until the payments equal the amount the workers would have received if their hotel had closed permanently, the source added.
Workers’ healthcare benefits, which were set to expire by the end of September, will also be extended until the end of the year.
The arbitrator’s decision impacts about 25,000 members of the Hotel Trades Council.
“For the thousands of workers whose jobs have been a casualty of the COVID crisis, the most pressing questions have been how do we continue to ensure they have access to health care and enough income to get by,” said Rich Maroko, the union’s president. “Being able to extend lifesaving health coverage and guarantee a reliable source of extra income will give workers protection and peace of mind during these difficult times.”