Because...

We are asking you to help us

147 families need your help. We are the housekeepers, banquet & restaurant workers, bell persons, front desk agents, engineers, and other employees at the Hilton Albany and we are asking you to honor our picket line and boycott our hotel.

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Many of us have worked at this hotel for over 20 years. On September 14, 2017, we announced a boycott and started demonstrating in front of our hotel every day and night after more than 90% of us voted to do so. We took this step reluctantly and only as a last resort.

It breaks our hearts to ask people to temporarily stop bringing their business here, but we feel the new owner, Attilio Petrocelli has given us no other choice.

The Hilton Albany's new owner, Attilio Petrocelli

The Hilton Albany's new owner, Attilio Petrocelli

Attilio Petrocelli is insisting on:

  • Elimination of our retirement plan
  • Cutting our vacation benefits
  • Taking away paid days off for grieving the death of a family member
  • Being able to send us home after only three hours of work

... and he refuses to agree:

  • To give us a fair wage increase
  • Not to discriminate based on gender identity or expression, marital status, and political beliefs
  • To our pleas for safeguards against rodents and vermin in the hotel

We have also had to file charges with the Federal Government against our new owner.

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On Thursday, September 14, 2017, our Union filed charges with the Federal government against the Hilton Albany.  The charges allege that the Hotel violated Sections 8(a)(1) and (5) of the National Labor Relations Act for failure to bargain with us in good faith by refusing to provide information that we requested, unless our Union agreed to a gag order.  We had requested various information from the Hotel, regarding banquets, criminal activity, health and safety, hiring and discipline, and pests and bed bugs.  We believe the Hotel did this not only in violation of the law, but to prevent us from informing the public and politicians about the working conditions at the Hotel.  In addition, our charges against the Hotel allege that the Hotel’s handbook contains unlawful provisions that prevent us from fully exercising our rights under the law, including the right to publicly discuss working conditions at the hotel.

In addition, on Friday, September 22, 2017, we filed another charge with the Federal government against the Hotel.  This charge alleges that the Hotel again violated Sections 8(a)(1) and (5) of the National Labor Relations Act by denying our Union access to the Hotel’s premises.  Our Union had been conducting a Health & Safety Inspection of the Hotel, as is its right under the collective bargaining agreement.  As our Union was uncovering significant health and safety issues, the Hotel prematurely ended the inspection and forced our representatives to leave the premises.

You don’t want to stay here

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Since the Hilton Albany was taken over by a new owner Attilio Petrocelli in 2015, employees have become so concerned about conditions in the workplace that we began demonstrating on a daily basis starting in the early morning and into the night to inform the public.

We are sorry for any inconvenience or discomfort this causes the guests of the hotel, but this is unfortunately the only recourse we have left.

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Indifference toward security in the building

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On September 18, 2017, at approximately 8:00 p.m., a Hilton Albany housekeeper was the victim of an attempted assault by a large man who was lurking in the hallway, outside guest room 500.

When the housekeeper asked the man if she could help him, he grabbed her housekeeping cart and shoved it out of his way, and then went after her, sneering “I’m going to kiss you.” She screamed and ran to the nearest phone to call for help, whereupon her assailant disappeared.

Only one manager on duty came to the 5th floor in response to the terrified housekeeper’s call for help. He asked her for a description of the perpetrator. Only after she finished cleaning one more room, did the manager attempt to find the man, and then he only checked five of the hotel’s fifteen floors. Security did not arrive until 11:00 p.m., three hours after the attempted assault. The manager did not check the security recordings and never ascertained whether the perpetrator had exited the building.

Needless to say, many of the employees in the hotel were very upset, not only about the incident, but about management’s inept and indifferent response. The Hilton Albany’s Human Resources Director at the time, David Perry, reacted especially callously to our concerns. When our representatives sought to discuss this incident with him, the HR Director was belligerent, arrogant, and totally uncooperative. He appeared to have no sympathy for the housekeeper. He dismissively claimed that “the hotel had dealt with” the matter, but could not explain how he came to that conclusion. In fact, during the meeting, it quickly became clear that the HR Director had not even familiarized himself with the basic facts of the case.  

Hotel housekeepers are especially vulnerable to assault and harassment while on duty. They are often alone in isolated corners of the building accessible to anyone from the street. When they are cleaning guest rooms, they are doing strenuous work, often with their backs to the door, making it difficult to notice anyone approaching them, even when their vacuum cleaners are not turned on.

For these reasons, many quality hotels (including most of the hotel industry in New York City) install “panic button” systems. Employees who travel to guest rooms throughout the building carry devices that are easily triggered and locatable so that hotel security can respond to an attack or other emergency quickly. This vastly improves the safety and security of employees and hotel guests alike. 

Unfortunately, Hilton Albany management has refused our proposals for a panic button system in our hotel. Instead, to address our fears about inadequate physical security in the building, management made the absurd offer of merely writing a new 'policy.’ Obviously a ‘policy’ will not impress a criminal.

This is another one of many disputed issues in our negotiations with Attilio Petrocelli, the new owner, and another reason for our ongoing boycott. It is also another example of how the best interests of hotel guests and employees are practically always the same.

Rodents and Vermin

This mouse was in the employee cafeteria on September 19, 2017 during breakfast. Meals are served on the cabinet in the background.

This mouse was in the employee cafeteria on September 19, 2017 during breakfast. Meals are served on the cabinet in the background.

One grave concern for us was the presence of rodents and other vermin in the building. In response to that concern, our representatives sent the Hotel an information request in August 2017.  They also made proposals to protect us from the safety and health concerns caused by rodents and vermin, including those posed by the vermin themselves, their feces, and the potentially toxic poisons that can be used to kill them.

The Hotel only provided a fraction of the requested information, and refused to provide the rest unless our Union agreed not to reveal the information to the public. Our Union filed charges with the National Labor Relations Board (“NLRB”), alleging that the Hotel’s insistence on secrecy was unwarranted, exacerbated the safety concerns, and violated federal law. That federal agency is presently conducting an investigation.

Despite multiple complaints by employees and despite being shown photographic evidence taken by the staff, during negotiations on September 28, 2017, the Hilton refused to agree to our proposals to prevent these problems from recurring, and arrogantly refused to explain to us why.

One of our co-workers in the Food and Beverage Department had this to say about management’s attitude: “I don’t think the owner or the Company’s lawyer cares what conditions are like in this building. They don’t have to spend their day here like we do.”

The following day, September 29, 2017, safety and health inspectors from the Hotel Trades Council found evidence of what they believe to be rodent feces near the cold kitchen and banquet spaces (see pictures below).

What appears to be rodent feces on and around an empty rodent trap in Banquet Space

More apparent rodent excrement in the corner of the Cold Prep Kitchen.

More apparent rodent excrement near gas line to stove next to a grill rack and sheet tray racks used for food preparation.

More apparent rodent excrement near gas line to stove next to a grill rack and sheet tray racks used for food preparation.

More apparent rodent feces all over storage shelf next to steel serving bowls.

More apparent rodent feces all over storage shelf next to steel serving bowls.

On Tuesday, October 3, 2017, only after our representatives filed complaints with government agencies, and notified the press about the situation, did hotel management assign some employees to clean the specific unsanitary areas that were cited in two OSHA complaints filed on September 21, 2017 and October 2, 2017. Workers were finally provided with equipment including gloves and sanitizers, and were allowed to sweep and wipe down the feces-infested areas that were affected at that point in time. Management is still refusing to agree to our proposals to address our ongoing concerns about rodents and vermin in the hotel.

Downloadable Documentation of health and safety issues at the Hilton Albany:

No Discrimination

Mr. Petrocelli adamantly refuses to agree to our union’s standard contract language protecting workers against employment discrimination. Here is the full proposal that he is rejecting:

“ No Discrimination - The employer agrees it shall not discriminate on the basis of gender, age, race, creed, color, religion, national origin, citizenship, marital or parental status, sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression, personal political beliefs or associations, immigration status, lawful off-duty activity, disability, veteran status, membership in the Union or participation in protected concerted activity or any other trait protected under either federal, state or local law.”

Stay here instead (It's easy to do the right thing)

Eat anywhere else

Park anywhere else

  • BOA Albany Lot
  • Empire State Plaza Parking
  • 55 Division Street Garage
  • 15 Sheridan Ave Garage
  • Green-Hudson Garage
  • Riverfront Garage
  • Quackenbush Garage
  • VIP Parking
  • 14-22 Dallius Street Garage
  • 111 Washington Ave Garage
  • 747 Broadway Garage
  • Trinity Church Lot
  • Robinson Square Lot
  • 11-19 S Pearl Street and Beaver Street Garage
  • 55 Elk Street
  • Times Union Center Parking Garage
  • 602 Broadway Garage
  • New York State Office of General Services - East Parking Garage

Let us help you move to another hotel or venue

The best thing you can do to support our boycott is to move your business elsewhere, and we can help you do so. Our picket line concierge has the latest room prices and occupancy rates for other nearby hotels. We also have a list of alternate venues that can accommodate large events.  Contact the picket line concierge at concierge@boycotthiltonalbany.com or call (518) 512-9753.

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In the News

Our Friends

Directive from Governor Cuomo

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On October 25, 2017 Governor Cuomo directed the Executive Chamber, state agencies and personnel to "refrain from booking new events or reserving rooms at the Albany Hilton Hotel until further notice." Read more… 

This growing list of elected officials and organizations have pledged to avoid the Hilton Albany until the boycott is lifted:

New York State Senate

New York State Assembly

Albany County Legislators