Labor Union

Hotel and Gaming Trades Council, AFL-CIO

Website:

hotelworkers.org/

Location:

New York, NY

Tax ID:

13-1098484

Tax-Exempt Status:

501(c)(5)

Budget (2020):

Revenue: $24,291,785
Expenses: $28,873,269
Assets: $55,965,580

Type:

Labor Union

President:

Richard Maroko

The Hotel and Gaming Trades Council, AFL-CIO, also referred to as the New York Hotel Trades Council or simply the Hotel Trades Council, is a labor union representing hotel and casino workers in New York City as well as in northern and central New Jersey. The union is affiliated with the left-of-center national hotel workers labor union Unite Here as well as the AFL-CIO, the nation’s largest labor union federation. It is also closely associated with Unite Here Local 6, also based in New York City.

The Hotel and Gaming Trades Council wields significant influence in New York City politics and promotes left-of-center and Democratic party-aligned candidates at the national and local levels. In New York City, the union was an early supporter of former Mayor Bill de Blasio (D) and supported his successor, Mayor Eric Adams (D). It was a longtime supporter of former Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D). The union endorsed Joe Biden for President in 2020 and has sent union members to assist Democratic candidates in out-of-state elections such as the Georgia U.S. Senate runoff elections in 2021. [1] [2] [3] [4]

History

The Hotel and Gaming Trades Council, AFL-CIO (HGTC) was founded in New York City in 1938. It traces its roots to early organizing efforts of the International Hotel Workers’ Union, which was targeted by hotels that required prospective employees to sign a pledge that they would not affiliate with the union, a document known as a “yellow dog contract.” Many early union organizing efforts in the 1910s and 1920s took place at luxury hotels in New York City, such as the Hotel Astor. [5]

The Hotel Trades Council also traces its roots to the first of New York City hotel and restaurant workers’ strike which was held in 1912 at the Belmont Hotel. Striking workers demanded conditions including one day off per week and ten dollars a week starting wages for waiters. The strike spread to other notable locations including the Plaza Hotel, the old Waldorf Hotel, and Delmonico’s. [6]

The first step to organizing the modern day Hotel Trades Council was led by the American Federation of Labor and the Food Workers Industrial Union which created the Hotel, Restaurant and Cafeteria Employees Organizing Committee and funded the committee with an initial $25,000 to begin an organizing campaign. The committee organizers demanded a general wage increase, minimum wages, an eight-hour day, no fines or fingerprinting of employees, formal recognition of the union as a bargaining agency, and “good food.” The organizing campaign resulted in the formation of the Hotel Trades Council, which was formed in 1938 and signed its first contract with the New York City Hotel Association in 1939. The first hotels to agree to the contract included the Pennsylvania, Commodore, St. Regis, Edison, Essex House, Croydon, and New Yorker. Shortly after the contract was signed, it was revealed that local union officers of the 32-A union representing other hotel workers such as doormen and elevator operators were pocketing member dues and extorting employers, which resulted in those employees forming Local 144 and affiliating with the Hotel Trades Council. [7]

Later campaigns of the union following its founding including a contractual prohibition on racial discrimination in hiring and benefits coverage for domestic partners of employees. By the 21st century the union reported representing 75% of New York City’s hotel workers and approximately 35,000 employees. [8]

Composition

As of 2022, the New York Hotel Trades Council rebranded as the Hotel and Gaming Trades Council, AFL-CIO and also refers to itself as the New York/New Jersey Hotel and Gaming Workers Union. The union has expanded to represent employees in northern and central New Jersey. The union also began representing casino workers in New York and New Jersey in recent years and has continually lobbied for more casinos to be licensed in New York City. [9]

The union claims to represent nearly 40,000 employees at 300 specific locations in New York and New Jersey, though its membership continues to be predominately located in New York. Union members include non-managerial employees in all departments including hotel staff, dining facilities staff, and slots, poker, and table games employees. [10]

Labor Federation Affiliations

The Hotel and Gaming Trades Council, AFL-CIO is an affiliate of the national left-of-center hotel workers union Unite Here, and is also closely associated with Unite Here Local 6, also known as the Hotel, Restaurant, Club Employees, and Bartenders Union, which represents restaurant and hotel workers in New York City. Peter Ward, the longtime president of the HGTC who retired in 2020, was also the president of Unite Here Local 6. [11]

The Hotel Trades Council was a longtime member of the AFL-CIO before being one of several unions to leave the AFL-CIO to join the well left-of-center Change to Win labor federation in 2005. In 2009, the union opted to rejoin the AFL-CIO. The union is also a member of the AFL-CIO New York City Central Labor Council. [12]

Local and State Political Activity

The Hotel and Gaming Trades Council is considered one of the most powerful political forces in the Democratic politics of New York City. At the local and state level, the union endorses candidates for office and lobbies extensively on left-leaning, pro-labor union policies and was a  top supporter of former New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio (D) and Mayor Eric Adams (D). [13] [14] [15] The union was the first union in the city to endorse Adams for mayor. [16]

The union has been described as one of the four most powerful labor unions in New York City and is often either the largest or one of the largest political spenders in the city’s Democratic primary elections. The union has continually lobbied for “special permits” that require all new hotels to use unionized construction labor, and it supports heavy restrictions on short-term rental owners and operators such as AirBnb. [17] The union also has lobbied for additional casino licenses to be granted to New York City, a move that was supported by former Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D), who with whom the union had close ties. [18]

In the late 2010s and early 2020s, the union spent more time and energy organizing in New Jersey. While the union is still New York City-centric, this increased focus was reflected in the selection of Rich Maroko, a New Jersey union organizer who became president of the union in 2020. The union led a campaign against AirBnb in Jersey City, New Jersey in 2019. [19]

Peter Ward, the longtime president of the union whose resignation in 2020 amid the COVID-19 pandemic sent “shockwaves” [20] through the union community in New York, has remained active in union organizing and Democratic politics. He was reported to have dined with disgraced former Governor Cuomo in 2022 while Cuomo was “mulling” a comeback bid. [21]

National Politics

The Hotel and Gaming Trades Council supports Democratic party candidates at the national level and campaigns for them outside of New York and New Jersey in key elections. The union endorsed Joe Biden for president in 2020, stating that the union “[h]elped get out the vote for Biden-Harris playing a role in their historic victory.” [22] The union also deployed members to campaign for Democratic candidates in the 2021 U.S. Senate run-off elections in Georgia. The union stated that its members were part of a group of 500 Unite Here union activists deployed to Georgia to assist the campaigns of Sens. Raphael Warnock (D) and Jon Ossof (D), stating that “Biden will need a Democratic majority in the Senate including both Warnock and Ossoff.” [23]

References

  1. Campanile, Carl and Hogan Bernadette. “Andrew Cuomo dines with labor honcho as he mulls comeback bid.” New York Post. March 18, 2022. Accessed July 27, 2022. https://nypost.com/2022/03/18/andrew-cuomo-dines-with-peter-ward-while-mulling-comeback-bid/ ^
  2. “Who We Are.” Hotel and Gaming Trades Council. Accessed July 27, 2022. https://hotelworkers.org/about/who-we-are ^
  3. “HTC helped get out the vote for Biden Harris playing a role in their historic victory.” Hotel and Gaming Trades Council. Accessed July 27, 2022. https://hotelworkers.org/article/htc-helped-get-out-the-vote-for-biden-harris-playing-a-role-in-their-historic-victory ^
  4. “HTC members get out the vote in Georgia.” Hotel and Gaming Trades Council. Accessed July 27, 2022. https://hotelworkers.org/article/htc-members-get-out-the-vote-in-georgia ^
  5. “The Story of the First Contract.” Hotel and Gaming Trades Council. Accessed July 27, 2022. https://hotelworkers.org/about/history/the-story-of-the-first-contract ^
  6. “The Story of the First Contract.” Hotel and Gaming Trades Council. Accessed July 27, 2022. https://hotelworkers.org/about/history/the-story-of-the-first-contract ^
  7. “The Story of the First Contract.” Hotel and Gaming Trades Council. Accessed July 27, 2022. https://hotelworkers.org/about/history/the-story-of-the-first-contract ^
  8. “Fighting for Social Justice Since 1939.” Hotel and Gaming Trades Council. Accessed July 27, 2022. https://hotelworkers.org/about/history/fighting-for-social-justice-since-1939 ^
  9. Campanile, Carl. “Lawmakers are pushing for up to three casino licenses in NYC region.” New York Post. Accessed July 27, 2022.  https://nypost.com/2022/01/09/lawmakers-are-pushing-for-casino-licenses-in-nyc-region/ ^
  10. “Who We Are.” Hotel and Gaming Trades Council. Accessed July 27, 2022. https://hotelworkers.org/about/who-we-are ^
  11. “Peter Ward and Local 6 Administrators are Reelected.” Hotel and Gaming Trades Council. Accessed July 27, 2022. https://hotelworkers.org/article/peter-ward-and-local-6-administration-are-re-elected ^
  12. “Unite Here Rejoins AFL-CIO.” Hotel and Gaming Trades Council. Accessed July 27, 2022. https://hotelworkers.org/article/unite-here-rejoins-afl-cio#:~:text=The%20union%20represents%20265%2C000%20workers,11.5%20million%20member%20AFL%2DCIO ^
  13. Campanile, Carl and Hogan Bernadette. “Andrew Cuomo dines with labor honcho as he mulls comeback bid.” New York Post. March 18, 2022. Accessed July 27, 2022. https://nypost.com/2022/03/18/andrew-cuomo-dines-with-peter-ward-while-mulling-comeback-bid/ ^
  14. “Who We Are.” Hotel and Gaming Trades Council. Accessed July 27, 2022. https://hotelworkers.org/about/who-we-are ^
  15. “HTC Members get out the vote in Georgia.” Hotel and Gaming Trades Council. Accessed July 27, 2022. https://hotelworkers.org/article/htc-members-get-out-the-vote-in-georgia ^
  16. Johnson, Brent. “Hotel union that’s powerful in NYC politics is expanding in N.J.” NJ.com. March 24, 2022. Accessed July 27, 2022. https://www.nj.com/politics/2022/03/hotel-union-thats-powerful-in-nyc-politics-is-expanding-in-nj.html ^
  17. Bockmann, Rich. “Hotel Workers Union Was Biggest Spender in City Primaries.” The Real Deal New York. October 4, 2017. Accessed July 27, 2022. https://therealdeal.com/2017/10/04/hotel-workers-union-was-biggest-spender-in-city-primaries/ ^
  18. Campanile, Carl. “Lawmakers are pushing for up to three casino licenses in NYC region.” New York Post. Accessed July 27, 2022.  https://nypost.com/2022/01/09/lawmakers-are-pushing-for-casino-licenses-in-nyc-region/ ^
  19. Johnson, Brent. “Hotel union that’s powerful in NYC politics is expanding in N.J.” NJ.com. March 24, 2022. Accessed July 27, 2022. https://www.nj.com/politics/2022/03/hotel-union-thats-powerful-in-nyc-politics-is-expanding-in-nj.html ^
  20. Gartland, Michael. “Powerful labor leader Peter Ward resigns as president of NYC’s hotel workers union.” New York Daily News. August 12, 2020. Accessed July 27, 2022. https://www.nydailynews.com/news/politics/ny-peter-ward-hotel-trades-council-labor-union-20200812-44ssn35m5rbwjapvyl6jg7u2bm-story.html ^
  21. Campanile, Carl and Hogan Bernadette. “Andrew Cuomo dines with labor honcho as he mulls comeback bid.” New York Post. March 18, 2022. Accessed July 27, 2022. https://nypost.com/2022/03/18/andrew-cuomo-dines-with-peter-ward-while-mulling-comeback-bid/ ^
  22. “HTC helped get out the vote for Biden Harris playing a role in their historic victory.” Hotel and Gaming Trades Council. Accessed July 27, 2022. https://hotelworkers.org/article/htc-helped-get-out-the-vote-for-biden-harris-playing-a-role-in-their-historic-victory ^
  23. HTC members get out the vote in Georgia.” Hotel and Gaming Trades Council. Accessed July 27, 2022. https://hotelworkers.org/article/htc-members-get-out-the-vote-in-georgia ^
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Nonprofit Information

  • Accounting Period: December - November
  • Tax Exemption Received: June 1, 1946

  • Available Filings

    Period Form Type Total revenue Total functional expenses Total assets (EOY) Total liabilities (EOY) Unrelated business income? Total contributions Program service revenue Investment income Comp. of current officers, directors, etc. Form 990
    2020 Dec Form 990 $24,291,785 $28,873,269 $55,965,580 $1,410,393 N $0 $20,782,152 $1,292,799 $831,488
    2019 Dec Form 990 $47,905,886 $36,474,722 $59,597,455 $2,429,621 N $0 $40,872,164 $896,296 $1,242,318 PDF
    2018 Dec Form 990 $46,197,639 $34,530,060 $45,200,041 $2,325,226 N $1,475 $37,099,701 $556,839 $1,104,681 PDF
    2017 Dec Form 990 $35,405,729 $33,753,672 $35,289,464 $2,996,928 N $0 $34,607,914 $171,406 $953,879 PDF
    2016 Dec Form 990 $32,776,023 $29,725,880 $32,609,249 $1,986,447 N $0 $31,382,017 $182,838 $928,657
    2015 Dec Form 990 $29,691,024 $26,922,352 $29,203,510 $1,938,852 N $0 $27,976,320 $179,794 $1,213,870 PDF
    2014 Dec Form 990 $24,370,738 $27,257,565 $26,629,341 $2,072,288 N $0 $24,204,729 $93,710 $902,194 PDF
    2013 Dec Form 990 $22,719,686 $26,097,116 $28,019,243 $552,427 N $0 $21,843,715 $150,647 $777,285 PDF
    2012 Dec Form 990 $23,206,390 $25,704,402 $31,005,769 $190,875 N $0 $22,861,165 $199,753 $682,149 PDF
    2011 Dec Form 990 $22,685,767 $23,998,357 $33,635,365 $239,774 N $0 $22,221,346 $390,786 $910,082 PDF

    Additional Filings (PDFs)

    Hotel and Gaming Trades Council, AFL-CIO

    707 EIGTH AVE
    New York, NY 11003-0000