Today in Trenton: New Jersey State AFL-CIO teams up with Unite Here to Lobby for Hotel Employee Protection Act

The New Jersey State AFL-CIO and a delegation of our brothers and sisters from Unite Here Local 54 gathered today in Trenton to lobby on behalf of the Hotel Employee Protection Act (S-2986/A-4439)—a bill requiring hotels to provide panic buttons to employees for protection from unsafe working conditions, violence, and sexual assault while performing housekeeping duties.

The group, organized by Unite Here Local 54 President Bob McDevitt, and Secretary-Treasurer Laurel Brennan met with a number of legislators, including Senator Brown (D2), Assemblywoman Lampitt (D6), Assemblywoman Reynolds-Jackson (D15), Assemblywoman Huttle (D37), Assemblywoman Mosquera (D4), Assemblyman Benson (D14), Assemblyman Land (D1), Assemblyman Andrzejczak (D1), Assemblyman Giblin (D34), Assemblyman Houghtaling (D11), Assemblyman Taliaferro (D3), Assemblyman DeAngelo (D14), and Assemblyman Verrelli (D14). All of whom agreed that precautions such as a panic button would help to ensure the safety of hotel workers.

The harassment of hotel workers—especially housekeepers—has been a longstanding issue the industry needs to address. Unite Here, which represents the rights of hospitality employees across the nation, has played a notable role in pushing hotels to adopt the panic button to better protect its workers.

During the lobbying sessions, many Unite Here members shared compelling stories, recalling incidents of violence, sexual assault, and harassment. Clearly, the stories resonated with legislators as many agreed to sign onto the bill.

The New Jersey State AFL-CIO will never tolerate unsafe working conditions. We thank the sponsors of the Hotel Employees Protection Act (S-2986/A-4439)—Senator Weinberg (D-37), Senator Greenstein (D14), Assemblyman Armato (D2), and Assemblyman Mazzeo (D2)—and our affiliated unions that have been lobbying for the bill’s passage.

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