|Dec. 1, 2010 | www.fisherphillips.com|
Hospitality employers sometimes wonder whether it's possible for individuals to participate in kitchen activities as unpaid interns or on a tryout basis, typically as chefs or cooks.
Disneyland is known as "The Happiest Place On Earth." But UNITE HERE Local 11, the Union that represents the park's 2,100 hotel employees, is not in a happy place. For close to three years now, it has been bargaining over a new labor contract. During that time, the union has staged protests and walk-outs, had its members engage in a week-long hunger strike and gone on a one-day quickie strike. But no matter what the union has done to force the issue, no new labor agreement has been reached.
It's common for fast food workers in Canada, Germany, France and Australia to be represented by a union. But in America less than 2% of fast food workers are unionized – and most of them work in stores located on college campuses, in hospitals or in government buildings where labor unions are commonplace. Indeed, until very recently, the conventional wisdom among union leadership was that employees working in freestanding fast food restaurants were simply too short-sighted, too transient, or too timid, to be viable targets for union organizing. Accordingly, even though it promises the possibility of hundreds of thousands of new union members, the fast food industry has gone largely ignored by unions. All of that may soon change.
Hotels and other entities should expect unions to routinely use OSHA citations as an organizing tool and a way to harass hospitality employers. In a recent Hospitality Update, we described a May 12 Houston Chronicle article complaining about the allegedly high rate of ergonomic injuries suffered by hotel employees.