Wednesday, October 5, 2022

Colonial Williamsburg Releases Offer Made to Unionized Hospitality Professionals

Union workers employed by Colonial Williamsburg picket outside the Williamsburg Lodge, calling for higher pay and better working conditions. (WYDaily/Ben Mackin)

WILLIAMSBURG — Colonial Williamsburg (CW) released its latest offer to the UNITE HERE Local 25 the day before the union organized a second set of picket lines outside four CW hotels and restaurants.

CW wrote that it has been bargaining in “good-faith” with the Union to provide raises of up to 23.5 percent and bonuses of up to $750 for union employees.

The statement reads:

“While Colonial Williamsburg continues to bargain in good faith, the Union continues to focus on issues which are important to Union bosses in Washington but not our employees here in Williamsburg. For example, the Union bosses want to prevent Colonial Williamsburg from using temporary employees who provide much needed relief to our regular employees during busy times. It is these sort of demands that have prevented Colonial Williamsburg from giving our employees the generous raises they deserve now.”

CW stated that the current offer includes giving non-tipped employees a minimum of $15.50, or an an increase of $2.95 an hour, whichever is higher per employee. Tipped employees would get a minimum of $7.37 per hour or a $1 increase, whichever would be considered higher per employee.

Both tipped and non-tipped employees would have raises scheduled every year from 2023 through 2025.

CW is also offering all employee bonuses in the pay period after Union representatives accept its proposal.

The statement ends by noting that CW offered to make Juneteenth, the federal holiday on June 19 which commemorates when the word of emancipation for Black Americans reached its final destination in 1865, a paid holiday for said Union workers.

The second set of demonstrations, which took place on Dec. 11 in front of CW’s properties, started at 7 a.m. in front of both the Williamsburg Lodge, 310 S. England St. and the Williamsburg Inn, 136 Francis St. At noon, a picket line commenced in front of Chowning’s Tavern, 109 Duke of Gloucester St. and another one in front of the King’s Arms Tavern, 416 Duke of Gloucester St. Benjy Cannon, a representative for Local 25, said that the pickets were a “walk and work” and that Union members were demonstrating before going on shift.

When asked how close the Union and CW were to reaching an agreement, Cannon stated that the negotiations are still ongoing.

The two sides have been in negotiations over a new contract since May. The old contract expired at the end of November, but both parties agreed to continue to try to find a resolution past that date.

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