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The Hotel and Gaming Trades Council secured a five-year contract with 87 suburban hotels across New York and New Jersey that will raise wages by $7.50 an hour for its 7,000 members, the Wall Street Journal reports. This contract does not apply to New York City hotels, though the proximity of these hotels to the city helped drive the increase.
David Sherwyn, a Cornell University professor and director of the Cornell Center for Innovative Hospitality Labor and Employment Relations, told the newspaper that about 10% of the hotel workforce nationwide is unionized. Nonunion hotels in heavily unionized cities tend to pay as much or more than union hotels to attract and retain talent, but the labor shortage and recent unionization wins at other businesses is drawing attention to their appeal.
“I think that everybody’s looking around now and saying, ‘We’re in a labor shortage and we’re in a time of positive feelings about unions,’” he said.
The innkeeper of a hotel in Afghanistan’s Sabzak Pass has made it his responsibility to help travelers in trouble along the 20-mile stretch through the mountain, the New York Times reports. Najibullah Bastani helps those who run out of gas or slide off the road — which is covered in snow six months out of the year — by delivering them food, calling mechanics for the vehicles and ordering a taxi to take stranded drivers to his hotel.
The Sayed Abad Hotel is located at the center of the pass near a small village. Before U.S. forces left Afghanistan, the Western-backed government in the country helped maintain the pass with 1,200 soldiers. After the Taliban regained control, there are fewer soldiers along the pass to help travelers, so Bastani has taken up the role as Keeper of the Pass himself.
“It’s my duty if I know them or even if I don’t know them,” he said. “I have to help them.”
Online travel agencies’ share of hotel bookings dropped to as low as 49% during the pandemic, but has since recovered to 52%, reports HNN contributor Danny King, citing data from travel-research firm Phocuswright.
“It became easy and cheaper if you were a member of a loyalty program to book direct, but that’s been countered by [OTAs’] marketing programs, and hotels can’t compete with that,” said Lorraine Sileo, senior analyst at Phocuswright. “When things ramped back up in 2022, the OTAs hit it hard and gained share back.”
The leftovers of heavy snowfall over the winter months is delaying the opening of the Grand Canyon National Park’s North Rim, the Associated Press reports. Park officials said the opening is being pushed back to mid-May to early June to allow enough time to plow the main road and reopen visitor facilities.
The North Rim received more than 250 inches of snow since October, roughly twice its average snowfall, the AP reports. This was the second-snowiest winter on the record for the North Rim since 1925. In March, the snow depth reached 92 inches on Bright Angel Point.
Data from a U.S. Census Bureau report shows that people working remotely are now younger, more diverse and better educated than in years before the pandemic, the Associated Press reports. They were also more likely to have moved during the worst parts of the pandemic.
The percentage of people between the ages of 25 and 34 who work from home grew from 16% to 23% between 2019 and 2021, the news agency reports. The share of Black employees working from home grew from 7.8% to 9.5%, and it grew for Asian workers as well, from 5.7% to 9.6%.
“If only temporarily, the COVID-19 pandemic generated a massive shift in the way people in the United States related to their workplace location,” the report said. “With the centrality of work and commuting in American life, the widespread adoption of home-based work was a defining feature of the pandemic era.”
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