According to the story, UNITE-HERE Local 2, which represents about 9,000 hospitality workers, authorized the strike following a vote as negotiations to renew a contract governing more than 60 San Francisco hotels remain stalled over how to pay for health care coverage.
The union has not yet set a strike date or targeted any particular hotel, but unless the talks progress, a walkout could begin in the coming weeks, the story stated.
During the previous contract cycle, UNITE-HERE negotiated with San Francisco''s largest hotels as a single group, but in the current talks it is dealing with the various hotel chains individually, the story noted.
According to the article, visitors to San Francisco''s 33,000 hotel rooms brought an estimated $8.5 billion into the local economy last year and generated more than $500 million in revenues for San Francisco''s government coffers.
Leonard Hoops, executive vice president of the San Francisco Convention & Visitors Bureau
, said: "We''ve said to the union that a strike would be disastrous. We''ve said to the hotels that a lockout would be disastrous."
The various hotel groups say health care rates have tripled in the last decade and they are unwilling to maintain the status quo given ever-increasing rates that now cost about $1,080 per employee, the story added.