Hotel worker ‘blacklisting’ ban approved by council

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Indianapolis hotels could no longer ban contract workers from direct employment under an ordinance passed Monday night by the City-County Council.

It’s unclear whether the measure, which was supported by Democrats and passed 16-9 along party lines, will be signed by Mayor Greg Ballard, a Republican.

“Hotels and temporary employment services should not engage in blacklisting of employees,” councilman Brian Mahern said prior to the vote, drawing cheers from supporters.

Hotel housekeepers working for employment services allege hotels won’t hire them directly when better jobs become available at the hotel, per agreements between hotels and employment agencies.

Also, hotel workers who’ve resigned from temporary agencies and apply for employment directly with hotels have been told they’re ineligible for a period of time as long as one year, said Sarah Lyons of the hotel union-organizing group UniteHere!

Lyons said the practice has left about 1,000 workers trapped in minimum-wage hotel jobs with no health insurance or other benefits.

Hotel industry representatives told a council committee last week that local hotels have no contracts with employment services that prevent them from hiring workers directly.

Blacklisting allegations are part of a lawsuit filed in federal court here last January by 14 hotel workers against several downtown hotels and Hospitality Staffing Solutions. 

The suit, which is pending, also alleges wage and hour violations.

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