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May 27, 2021

Executive Compensation at the New York Hotel Trades Council

by Anne Paddock

Recently, I read an article in the New Yorker called “Behind the Scenes at a Five-Star Hotel” that I highly recommend if you’re the least bit interested in the restaurant and hotel industry in New York City. Prior to Covid, most people didn’t think too much about hotels and restaurants beyond the location, cost, number of stars, and quality of the food and service. But Covid changed all that in that we pretty much stopped thinking about hotels and restaurants because we stopped traveling, going to events, and eating out.

Athough Covid devastated the hotel and restaurant industry across the country, the New York City market was hit particularly hard even though many of the workers belong to a labor union, which exist to protect the workers. One of the biggest labor unions representing hotel and restaurant workers is the New York Hotel Trades Council (NYHTC), a tax-exempt, non profit trade organization that represents nearly 40,000 employees in 300 hotels in the hospitality industry in the New York/New Jersey region.

NYHTC is governed by 9 voting members, 1 of whom is independent.

Based in New York, NY, the NYHTC reported total revenue of $46 million in 2018 (compared to $35 million in 2017), most of which came from membership dues and fees ($37 million) and settlements ($9 million). Expenses totaled $35 million with the two largest expenses reported to be payments to affiliates ($18 million) and compensation ($9 million).

The payments to affiliates were primarily to an organization called Hotel Restaurant Club Employees and Bartenders Union which also goes by Unite Here. Unite Here is a tax-exempt 501 (c) 5 that provides members with representation with collective bargaining agreements negotiated with various employers.

Compensation, the second largest expense at $9 million was for 132 employees who received an average compensation of $68,000. The 11 most highly compensated employees (all of whom received a portion of their compensation from both NYHTC and an affiliate) were reported to be:

  • $744,489: Peter Ward, President
  • $514,356: Richard Maroko, Recording Secretary
  • $444,089: James Donovan, General Organizer
  • $356,985: Vanessa D Meade, VP
  • $333,167: Christopher Cusack, EVP
  • $314,263: Julia Rybak, Director of Organizing
  • $303,646: Daniel Beer, CIO
  • $301,636: Jason Ortiz, Strategic Affairs Director
  • $284,321: John Ruben, COO
  • $265,051: John Turchiano, Editor
  • $242,820: George Padilla, VP

9 of the 11 (82%) most highly compensated employees are male while 2 (18%) are female. Two independent contractors received more than $100,000 in compensation: PITTA LLP received $2.2 million for legal services; Office of the Impartial Chairpeson received $400,000 for arbitration.

It is also important to note NYHTC gave a $1.6 million grant to New York Hotel Trades Council Non Federal Cope – a 527 (a political action committee to influence the selection, nomination, election, appointment, or defeat candidates to elected offices at the local, state, and federal level. NYHTC also gave a $1 million grant to another 527: Hotel Workers for Stronger Communities. Both of the grant recipients operate out of the same office as NYHTC.

To read the IRS Form 990 (2018), click here.

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