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Scheinman/Hotel School Hospitality Conference Tackles Hot Button Labor Issues

In September, the National HR in Hospitality Conference brought together industry experts from across the country to discuss the state of labor relations in the hospitality industry. Representing a wide range of perspectives—from labor and management, as well as the academic and the practitioner point of view—participants met at the Hotel Del Coronado in San Diego, California.


The conference began in 2008 as a partnership between the ILR School and the Hotel School with the purpose of facilitating communication between Hospitality Industry Human Resource and Labor Relations specialists. Although there have been smaller conferences, which have allowed professionals within management or labor organizations to meet, this event is unique in fulfilling the role of bringing together experts from both sides. Through its sessions, as well as informal meetings between attendees, the meeting covered the legal and practical elements of HR in hospitality.  The 2022 conference is scheduled to take place from June 14th to 16th, 2022 in Miami Beach, Florida.


Harry Katz, Director of the Scheinman Institute and Jack Sheinkman Professor of Collective Bargaining, is one of the conference’s founders and served as a moderator for several panels this year.


In one very timely presentation, Katz led a panel exploring how the policies of the Biden Administration will affect the changing labor landscape. Featuring Phillip Miscimarra (a former member  of the National Labor Relations Board), Brian Crawford (Executive VP of Government Affairs for the American Hotel and Lodging Association), Samuel Epps (political director of Unite Here Local 25) and Rick Hurd (Professor of Labor Studies Emeritus for the ILR School), this conversation touched on a wide range of subjects, including what sort of decisions to expect from the National Labor Relations Board and potential regulations regarding social media’s impact on labor relations.

Harry Katz at a panel discussion


Katz also moderated a labor law session focused on union organizing post-pandemic.  This panel reviewed COVID-19’s effects on union organizing activity and whether or not to expect an increase in organizing efforts in the coming year as a result of the pandemic. The speakers for the panel included Michael D’Angelo (VP of Labor Relations for Hyatt Hotels Corporation) and Jaime Novikoff (Head of Labor Relations, Aimbridge Hospitality) as well as Professor Rick Hurd.


Additionally, he led a discussion on  “50 Legal Tips in 50 Minutes”. This panel featured Celeste Yeager (a litigator for the legal firm Littler Mendelson), Paul Wagner (an attorney and adjunct professor at Cornell’s Hotel School), Gregg Gilman (Partner and Co-Chair of Labor & Employment Practice Group, Davis & Gilbert LLP) and Dave Sherwyn (John and Melissa Ceriale Professor of Hospitality Human Resources and a Professor of Law at Cornell University’s School of Hotel Administration). 


ILR students interested in learning more about labor relations and hospitality can sign up for ILRLR 4060, Labor Relations in the Hospitality Industry. Taught by Professors Rick Hurd and David Sherwyn, the course covers hospitality industry labor relations issues such as organizing, negotiation, and arbitration.