The American Hotel & Lodging Association (AHLA) and UNITE HERE, the largest hospitality workers union, are joining forces to urge Congress to pass the Save Hotel Jobs Act.
The bill was introduced earlier in April by Representative Charlie Crist (D-Fla.) and Senator Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii). It comes after the passage of the Restaurant Revitalization Fund, which is allocating federal grants of up to $10 million to restaurants starting Monday.
According to the AHLA, 3.1 million hospitality jobs were lost during the pandemic, with urban hotels hit the hardest.
“No industry has been more affected by the pandemic than hospitality,” said Chip Rogers, CEO of AHLA, in a statement. “Government-issued travel bans and restrictions, which are meant to slow the spread of the virus, have wiped out 10 years of job growth in our industry. Now, millions of jobs and thousands of businesses are at risk … Congress must step up now to support the hotel industry workforce with targeted relief.”
While leisure travel is rebounding and should continue through the summer, business travel is down 85%, said the AHLA. Business travelers are hotels’ main source of revenue and they are not expected to start slowly returning until the second half of the year. A full recovery is not in the cards until 2023, said the AHLA.
Provisions in the Save Hotels Jobs Act include direct payroll grants to support hotel workers, awarding laid-off workers with recall rights to be rehired and a tax credit for 50% of costs associated with the purchase of PPP equipment, technology, testing and cleaning protocols.
Over 70% of UNITE HERE hotel members are still out of work as a result of the pandemic.