Hilton_San_Francisco_unionsquare.jpgThe tentative agreement announced today between Hilton and its hotel workers ends an 18-month labor dispute and boycott at its Union Square location.

The four-year contract includes increased wages, increased pension contributions, workload limits for housekeepers, additional vacation time, and maintained healthcare coverage for employees and retirees, UNITE HERE Local 2 President Mike Casey said.

The union, which represents 800 employees at the Hilton in Union Square, will vote to approve the contract at 11 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. Friday.

The retroactive settlement, which spans from August 2009 through August 2013, will provide increased pension contributions of about 25 percent, Casey said.

These contributions provide a $40 monthly retirement benefit per year of service for workers who retire between January 2010 and December 2014, according to Local 2.

Casey said that negotiating pensions was the most challenging part of the retroactive settlement.

“They were just stubborn and trying to outlast us,” Casey said.

“Our members are quite determined to outlast the last of the bosses.”

About 25 Hilton employees, from housekeepers to cooks, stood smiling behind the hotel’s general manager Michael Dunnem at the agreement’s announcement to show their backing of the settlement.

“We’re finally moving forward instead of backward,” said Jacov Awoke, a doorman at the hotel since 1989.

Awoke, a member of the negotiations team since August 2009, said he is happy with the decision but remembers the 8,000 other workers at nearly 60 different hotels in San Francisco who are without a contract.

“Our sisters and brothers need the same contract,” Awoke said.

Employees like Awoke, those with 20 or more years at the hotel, will also receive an additional week of vacation time with the new agreement, Casey said.

Wage increases will be $2 per hour for non-tip-based employees and $1 per hour for tip-based employees over the four-year period, Casey said.

“We’re glad to have a contract that’s fair to both the hotel and the union,” Dunnem said.

Hilton hotels in Chicago and Honolulu have also reached similar tentative agreements as part of a coordinated effort by unions, Casey said.

Rachel Purdy, Bay City News

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