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BALTIMORE-The Hotel Employees and Restaurant Employees Union has put out a report criticizing the developer of a luxury hotel and condominium project here. The union contends that L.I. Square Corp., a local developer that plans to build a 225-room Ritz Carlton and 97 condos on an Inner Harbor parcel, has not been willing to talk with HERE about a labor peace agreement, which in part would allow the union to attempt to organize workers on the project. The union also attacked the labor track record of Atlanta-based Ritz Carlton and its parent company, Marriott International of Bethesda, MD.

HERE senior research analyst Nick Weiner told GlobeSt.com, “We’ve made attempts to meet with L.I. Square Corp. They have declined to meet with us. They have indicated they do not want to have a labor peace agreement for the construction and or management of that hotel.”

Vivian Deuschl, a spokeswoman for Ritz Carlton declined to comment on labor issues, and referred those questions to Charlotte Sterling at Marriott International who was not immediately available for comment. Greg Harris, a spokesman for L.I. Square, referred questions to developer president and CEO Ed Giannasca, who was not immediately available for comment.

In essence, a labor peace agreement, among other things, would allow HERE to go in and attempt to unionize workers. Weiner says that Ritz Carlton and Marriott both have had bad records dealing with labor, citing a dispute in San Francisco, which he claims is the longest in the city’s history, and a lawsuit against Ritz Carlton and Marriott in Puerto Rico.

However, there is no strong HERE presence in Baltimore. Local 7 is a small chapter, Weiner says, and attempts have just begun to unionize workers at other hotels. Right now the union is negotiating with the Windham Inner Harbor Hotel, a 707-room facility. Weiner says that about half the workers there now are not unionized.

“People are making $6.50 an hour, with few or little benefits,” notes Weiner, who wanted to link the union’s work to the effort by the city to revitalize the Inner Harbor, which has about 15 hotels. “The jobs in the hotel industry should be good jobs, that’s the reason to organize, so people benefit from public subsidies in the revitalization.”

However, the proposed Ritz Carlton is not getting major subsidies. Weiner said that right now, the hotel tax will be phased in over a 10-year period, and there will be wage credits for employees. Additionally, those who buy condos will get a five-year, homeowner tax credit.

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