YuLin Zhen, Contributing Photographer

Six front desk agents joined over 100 fellow unionized workers at the Omni Hotel last Friday in a victorious vote for union representation by the Connecticut hospitality union, Local 217 UNITE HERE.

Front desk agents at the Omni petitioned to unionize in late January. The union won by a majority in the vote to unionize on March 1. Although the Omni New Haven Hotel at Yale has been unionized for decades, it was not until last Friday that front desk workers entered the union. 

Isadora Milanez ’19, an organizer for Local 217 UNITE HERE, told the News that front desk workers approached Local 217 UNITE HERE, which is affiliated with the AFL-CIO, to join their colleagues in the existing contract with Omni.

“We have a great standard of the Omni union contract, and they wanted to be a part of it,” Milanez said. “We also have upcoming contract negotiations to renew our contract between the employer and the union this year that people are feeling optimistic about.”

Milanez said that the vote was triggered by the National Labor Relations Board after front desk employees submitted union representation cards that demonstrated interest in forming a union.

Bobby May, a front desk worker at the Omni, shared his excitement following the unions’ victory.

“It was a great feeling,” May said. “The Omni is a great company to work for. But now, being part of the AFL-CIO, only makes it better.”

May said that the process to unionize was straightforward and smooth overall.

May also said that he feels a new sense of unity with his colleagues now that front desk workers have joined the union.

“I feel like we’re one. We have a pension, we have a retirement and we will have fair wages.”

The addition of front desk agents to the union is welcomed by other workers at the Omni as contract negotiations approach.

Ryenamar Ortiz, a restaurant server and shop steward at the Omni, voiced his support for the front desk workers joining the union.

“We’re happy and excited for front desk workers to join us in bargaining for our new contract,” Ortiz said, according to Milanez. “This shows unity and makes us stronger.”

The Omni did not reply to a request for comment on the unionization.

Almost the entirety of employees at the Omni New Haven Hotel at Yale are now a part of the Local 217 UNITE HERE union.

The Omni New Haven Hotel at Yale is located at 155 Temple St.

Tyson Odermann is a first-year in Pauli Murray College from Parshall, North Dakota. He covers business, unions, and the economy in the city of New Haven.