Providence City Council Says “Yes” to the Hospitality Worker Comeback Legislation

Nov 5, 2020 | 0 comments

The Hospitality Worker Comeback Legislation Ensures that Hospitality Workers Laid Off Due to the Pandemic Can Return to Their Jobs and Their Livelihoods

Tonight the City Council passed the “Hospitality Worker Comeback” legislation which was introduced by City Council Majority Leader Jo-Ann Ryan (Ward 5) at the October 15, 2020 City Council Meeting. The legislation received its first passage at that meeting, before it was sent to the Council’s Committee on Ordinances. This legislation ensures that any hotel worker who was laid off or furloughed due to the COVID-19 pandemic would be rehired before other candidates, as City hotels come back online. The Ordinance is co-sponsored by Council President Sabina Matos (Ward 15), Council President Pro Tempore Michael J. Correia (Ward 6), Majority Whip John J. Igliozzi, Esq. (Ward 7), Senior Deputy Majority Leader Nicholas J. Narducci Jr. (Ward 4), Deputy Majority Leader Mary Kay Harris (Ward 11), and Councilors David A. Salvatore (Ward 14), Nirva LaFortune (Ward 3), Kat Kerwin (Ward 12), Rachel Miller (Ward 13), James E. Taylor (Ward 8), Pedro J. Espinal (Ward 10), and John Goncalves (Ward 1).

“I am very proud to stand up in support of the over 700 Providence hotel employees that are currently laid off due to the COVID-19 Pandemic,” stated Majority Leader Jo-Ann Ryan. “We don’t yet know how long this current pandemic will impact our hospitality industry, but this important piece of legislation ensures that our hospitality industry employees will have jobs to come back to when their hotel reopens. It also gives our hardworking hospitality professionals peace of mind that they will get their jobs back and reclaim their livelihoods as we return to normal business operations. Further, this legislation ensures that these dedicated workers will have the option to return to their job by classification and seniority. It’s about fairness, and I want to thank all my Council colleagues who joined me in co-sponsoring this important legislation.”

City Council President Sabina Matos stated, “As the creative capital, and home to James Beard award winning restaurants, and several hotels, hospitality is in our City’s DNA. As elected leaders we have an obligation to our hospitality workers to make sure that they have jobs as we come back from this ongoing crisis. One thing I know for sure, is the Providence is all about resilience, and we will get through this and become a go-to destination once more.”

Over the past several decades, the City of Providence has invested heavily in tourism. The Council has approved several tax stabilization agreements that gave investors the help, they needed to bring their hotels to Providence. These agreements are also an investment in the City’s workforce. With 700 jobs on the line, this legislation makes it clear that the City Council is in full support of our hospitality employees. Because of this legislation, hotels located in Providence will not be able to permanently fire their employees and ask them to reapply as if they were just starting out with the company.

Majority Leader Ryan continued, “Since I first introduced this legislation, I have heard from other cities that are interested in what we are doing here in Providence. Hotels as close as Boston, have fired their employees and told them they could reapply when the hotel reopens. Yet, if hired they would not come back at the same level or paygrade. This is simply not a good business practice, and frankly I find it very unsettling that during a time when so many are out of work and are not making ends meet with unemployment, that this is occurring. Not just in New England, but in cities around the Country.”

The legislation also includes protections and enforcement for employees that are not brought back to work, including the right to bring legal action and penalties. The legislation does include a sunset clause and will remain in effect until November 1, 2022, unless it is repealed or the City Council approves an extension or re-authorization.

The Hospitality Worker Comeback legislation can be found here: https://bit.ly/3451

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