CWS 3.0: May 23, 2012

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Contingents’ Concerns Prompt City Proposal

Contingent workers’ concerns prompted one city to consider a new policy that would affect contingent workforce buyers in the hotel industry.

Contingents in Indianapolis complained they couldn’t be hired directly by hotels for periods ranging from six months to a year because of deals hotels had with subcontractors, WTHR.com reported.

Staffing firms often require a buyer to pay a conversion fee if the buyer opts to hire a contingent directly. But in the Indianapolis situation, workers couldn’t be hired directly by Hotel X even if they worked at Hotel Y if both hotels had deals with the same subcontractor, the report said.

A proposal submitted to the Indianapolis-Marion County City-County Council last week would attempt to fix the situation by prohibiting hotels from having an agreement with “any contracting service at the hotel” that would prevent them from hiring workers directly. However, the council did not yet formally discuss the proposed rule, which will be reviewed by a committee.

The council’s aim is to help workers in hotels’ cleaning service, according to city documents.

Indystar.com reported the new rule was introduced last week before the City-County Council.

Separately, workers had sued Hospitality Staffing Solutions LLC and 10 Indianapolis hotels in January claiming they weren’t paid for all hours worked or overtime. Workers in the lawsuit, which seeks class-action status, include housekeepers and others.

The suit also claims that hotels wouldn’t hire workers directly because they worked for HSS. In one instance, a housekeeper said the JW Marriott hotel wouldn’t hire her because she worked for HSS, although the housekeeper previously worked at different hotels — the Embassy Suites and The Canterbury Hotel, according to the complaint in the lawsuit.

HSS has denied allegations, according to court documents. HSS remains a defendant in the case, although many of the hotels have been dismissed.

When the suit was first filed, a union said the suit could cost defendants $10 million.

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