WILLIAMSBURG, Va. — Author's note: The video above is on file from December 5, 2021.
Over 200 workers in the hospitality industry in Colonial Williamsburg have voted unanimously to accept a new union contract deal that will provide them with better wages and improved working conditions and policies.
The negotiations were spearheaded by UNITE HERE Local 25, which is a D.C. based union organization.
“We have said throughout this campaign that teaching history should not mean re-living it at work,” said John Boardman, the executive secretary treasurer of UNITE HERE Local 25. “Now, our members can take pride in the fact that they have won 21st Century working conditions at Colonial Williamsburg.”
Since May, workers have been rallying for change and negotiations have been in progress with the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation, which said that it has acted in good faith and provided respective raise opportunities, according to previous coverage.
“By the end of the negotiations, the overwhelming majority of our members’ demands had prevailed. That is a testament to the power of fighting together for wages that can pay our bills, for the right to have a life outside of work, and for the dignity that every worker deserves,” Boardman said in a statement.
According to the release, major changes in the new contract include:
- A 48.5% wage increase by 2025. This means the rate will go from $12.50 to $18.50.
- $500 ratification bonus for tipped employees and $1,000 bonus for non-tipped employees in their next paycheck.
- Changes in the overtime system to ensure proper pay, distribution of hours.
- Guaranteed hours for both tipped and non-tipped workers.
- Short and long-term disability protections.
- Tipped workers will have a doubled hourly rate, capped at the non-tipped minimum (for all sick, vacation and short and long-term disability calculations).
- Healthcare premiums will remain stable and will not increase during the length of the contract.
- Preservation of pension rights even if property is sold.