Mayor vetoes hotel-worker blacklisting proposal

Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard has vetoed a proposed ordinance aimed at hiring practices by local hotels, the mayor's office announced Thursday afternoon.

The proposal, passed Monday night by the City-County Council, said hotels could no longer ban contract workers from direct employment. The measure was supported by Democrats and passed 16-9 along party lines.

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.

In a letter to the council explaining his veto, Ballard said state law already prohibits so-called "blacklisting," making a duplicate ordinance unnecessary. He also said there was "no compelling evidence" that showed "any hotel or cleaning service in Indianapolis had engaged in 'blacklisting.'"

In addition, he said, the proposal would be an "overreaching and overly burdensome city regulation on business" that interferes with contracting between private entities.

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.

Please enable JavaScript to view this content.

Story Continues Below

Editor's note: You can comment on IBJ stories by signing in to your IBJ account. If you have not registered, please sign up for a free account now. Please note our updated comment policy that will govern how comments are moderated.