AirBnb

Hotel Workers' Union Gave $100K to Management's Fight Against Airbnb

Usually opponents, the New York Hotel and Motel Trades Council joined forces with the Hotel Association of New York City to fight short-term rentals.

|

The trade association representing New York City hotels and the union that represents tens of thousands of the city's hotel workers rarely see eye-to-eye.

Last year, though, they found a common enemy: Airbnb.

The New York Hotel and Motel Trades Council, which represents more than 35,000 employees in the Big Apple, made a $100,000 contribution in November 2015 to the Hotel Association of New York City, a trade group that includes 280 of the city's hotels. The contribution, which was reported as part of a mandatory Department of Labor disclosure of union spending, was given to support the Hotel Association of NYC's "Bnb project." (H/t to Checks And Balances Project for digging this up)

U.S. Department of Labor

Neither the trade association nor the union would confirm it, but the contribution seems like a clear reference to the hotel association's efforts to block Airbnb and other short-term rental services from operating in New York City. That effort scored a significant (though likely short-lived) victory earlier this month when Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed a bill that makes it illegal for New Yorkers to advertise short-term rentals on online platforms like Airbnb.

The contribution from the union to the trade association shows that both sides of the classic labor-management divide were willing to set aside their differences in order to use their political muscle against a common opponent.

According to Bloomberg, Airbnb accounted for 2.9 million overnight stays in New York City during 2015, but that was only 7.8 percent of all nightly rentals. Hotels accounted for 92 percent of all stays and brought in 95 percent of gross revenue.

Despite that huge edge in earnings, the hotel industry has been pushing for rules that ban short-term rentals—and not just in New York. The Hotel Association of New York City gave $25,000 to an organization that backed a 2015 ballot initiative to apply stricter rules for short-term rentals in San Francisco.

Voters rejected that proposal, but the hotel industry in New York had more success by appealing directly to elected officials. The Airbnb advertising ban signed this month by Cuomo would impose fines of up to $7,500 for each offense, but the law already faces legal challenges because it seems to violate both federal law and the First Amendment.

The union and hotel trade association are generally on opposite sides of hot button political issues. Currently, they are engaged in a fight over a proposal to raise the minimum wage to $15 in New York City, with the union supporting the so-called "Fight for $15" while the trade association opposes it.

As a private organization, the Hotel and Motel Trades Council is allowed to spend their money however they want, of course. Still, members of the union might be surprised to learn that $100,000 of their dues have been handed over to an organization that opposes the union on many issues.

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

14 responses to “Hotel Workers' Union Gave $100K to Management's Fight Against Airbnb

  1. If the union didn’t support that campaign, the number of non-union workers cleaning the AirBnB rentals would just continue to grow. Supporting cartels is a good investment for the union.

    1. I am somewhat surprised two such mutual-hating organizations found common ground, especially when competent counself could have told them it would be likely found illegal, and when competent thinking would predict how quickly such an unpopular ban would be repealed.

      I guess it just shows to goya how much they fear AirBnB, which in turns shows to goya how popular AirBnB is.

      1. Rent seekers know no such boundaries.

        1. Check this legitimate ways to mak? money from home, working on your own time and being your own boss… Join the many successful people who have already used the system. Only reliable internet connection needed, no prior experience neccessary, that’s why where are here. Start here… http://www.Trends88.Com

  2. Power to the people.

  3. Management and labor working in harmony to a common goal.

  4. …the contribution seems like a clear reference to the hotel association’s efforts to block Airbnb and other short-term rental services from operating in New York City.

    Did it go right into Cuomo’s pocket, or is there some middle man?

  5. When the SEIU organized ‘strikes’ at the local Micky Ds, none of the ‘strikers’ seemed to work at the places being ‘struck’, and the local rag didn’t bother to ask whether they were SEIU workers paid to show up and claim to be ‘strikers’.
    One admitted she was in an accidental burst of honesty.

  6. I don’t get Airbnb. Who wants to sleep on some rando’s stinky bed with no room service or bar in the lobby?

    1. From what I’ve read, people who don’t want a standardized corporate experience, but something unique and personal. I prefer standardized corporate experiences myself, but then I’m not a people person.

  7. RE: Hotel Workers’ Union Gave $100K to Management’s Fight Against Airbnb
    Usually opponents, the New York Hotel and Motel Trades Council joined forces with the Hotel Association of New York City to fight short-term rentals.

    I don’t know about the rest of you, but I sure am glad unions are not subject to anti-trust laws.
    Now they can go after any and all of those bastards who engage in free enterprise that don’t “donate” to the unions.

  8. just as Gerald implied I am in shock that a person able to earn $7711 in 1 month on the
    computer . go now>>>>>>>>>>> http://tinyurl.com/h5r9tme

  9. until I looked at the paycheck saying $4730 , I did not believe that…my… brother woz like actualy bringing in money part time from there computar. . there friend brother started doing this for less than 7 months and resently paid for the morgage on there home and bought a new Cadillac …….

    …….. http://www.jobprofit9.com

  10. until I looked at the paycheck saying $4730 , I did not believe that…my… brother woz like actualy bringing in money part time from there computar. . there friend brother started doing this for less than 7 months and resently paid for the morgage on there home and bought a new Cadillac …….

    …….. http://www.jobprofit9.com

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.