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Hyatt Regency hotel workers win minimum wage increase

Workers at the Hyatt Regency Baltimore Inner Harbor hotel will see their minimum wages rise to $15 an hour by Dec. 1 of next year under a new labor agreement approved last week.

Hotel employees and management ratified the five-year contract Oct. 22 after months of negotiations. The deal comes as workers at several other downtown Baltimore hotels continue to push for better pay, benefits and working conditions.

Under the deal, wages for non-tipped Hyatt Regency staff will increase by $1.10 an hour over the next five months. By December 2020, the lowest paid hourly employees will make $15 an hour, and by the end of the contract, minimum wage at the hotel will have risen to $16.20 an hour.

The agreement represents an overall increase of $2.86 an hour by the conclusion of the five-year term — nearly $6,000 more a year for employees who work 40 hours a week.

Wages for non-tipped workers, meanwhile, will rise by $1.10 an hour over the course of the five-year agreement, from a minimum of $5.10 an hour in 2019 to $6.20 an hour in 2024.

The contract also increases tips for banquet servers and preserves "room drop" standards for housekeepers that limit how many check-out rooms they are asked to clean in a day.

The Hyatt has about 150 tipped and non-tipped employees, who were aided in contract negotiations by Unite Here Local 7, a labor union that represents some 3,000 hotel, gaming and food service workers across the state.

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Hyatt workers were participants in Unite Here's "One Job Should Be Enough" campaign, which has pushed for higher pay and improved working conditions for hospitality workers across the country. The union is also working with employees of the Hilton Baltimore, Marriott Baltimore Waterfront, Crowne Plaza and Radisson hotels. Those hotel workers voted in September to let their contracts expire, opening the door to picketing, leafleting and possible strikes.

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Maryland's minimum wage is currently $10.10 an hour and will increase to $11 an hour in January under a law passed by state legislators during the most recent General Assembly session. The law will bring minimum wage to $15 by January 2025.

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