Philly city councilmembers introduce legislation aiming to help hospitality, hotel workers

Philadelphia city councilmembers introduced legislation to retain hospitality sector jobs for laid off workers as economy reopen The Right to Return legislation would ensure the industry is staffed by experienced personnel best able to protect the public health.

Philly Councilwoman Helen Gym is lead sponsor on a package of council bills aiming to help hospitality and hotel workers. One bill calls for them to return based on seniority.

“As they get called back we are asking them to call back they are experienced workers based on seniority and that’s just time in,” Gym said.

Another bill would protect hospitality jobs in the event of a company‘s sale, while another protects stadium workers if new contractors take over.  Gym is clear that it’s situational to COVID.

“This is very limited. This is limited only to COVID.  This was an extraordinary situation. It’s not across the board at all times. It’s for those impacted during the COVID crisis,” she said.

The bills enjoy wide council support but have not been voted on or signed into law. Ed Grose, of the Greater Philadelphia Hotel Association, says rehiring by seniority is redundant anyway.

“I can tell you that hotels already do that now.  It’s in their best interest to bring back their best people for not only loyalty reasons, but also they’re the ones who were going to service the guests the best,” he said.

Occupancy rates are in the teens when you count available rooms  he adds  saying that hotels need room to breathe not more of the regulation he says is smothering Philly hotels.

“You’ve seen weddings take place. I was at the shore the weekend before last and saw five weddings take place. Those are five weddings that are not happening in Philadelphia.  That’s a payday my hotel employees are not gonna see and tax dollars that this city is not going to collect,” he said.

Grose says hotels have embraced safety regulations and they’ve never been safer.


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