03.07.2018 0

Living in the Lap of Luxury

By Richard McCarty

As originally published at http://seiumonitor.com/living-lap-luxury/

According to a report it filed with the US Department of Labor, the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) spent over $2.3 million at 4- to 5-star hotels around the world in 2016. (Data for 2017 is not yet available.) With so many of SEIU’s members working low-paying jobs as janitors and health care workers, it seems unlikely that many of SEIU’s members regularly travel in such luxury.

Below are some of the amenities available at several of these fine hotels.

  • SEIU spent nearly $50,000 at the 5-star Regis Washington DC, which is one of the nicest hotels in the city. The hotel is located near the White House; its lobby features crystal chandeliers, marble floors, and a baby grand piano. Most evenings, the hotel conducts a ceremony opening a champagne bottle with a saber and then distributes complimentary glasses of champagne.
  • SEIU spent over $18,000 at the 5-star InterContinental Hong Kong. The hotel has stunning views of the city’s harbor. In 2016, the hotel had one fancy restaurant that was Michelin-rated; now it has two. Each hotel room includes a loaner smart phone that guests can use to make unlimited local or international calls. The phone also offers unlimited data and functions as a hotspot.
  • SEIU spent over $8,000 at the 5-star Park Hyatt Chicago, the “flagship Park Hyatt hotel.” The hotel has beautiful views of downtown Chicago and Lake Michigan. Rooms in this hotel have remote control blinds, iPads, espresso machines, bathrobes, slippers, and televisions in the bathrooms.
  • SEIU spent over $5,000 at the 5-star Westin New York at Times Square. Guests staying at this hotel who forgot their workout clothes can borrow pants or shorts, a shirt, socks, and tennis shoes for just a few dollars. Room service, on the other hand, is much more expensive: the room service menu offers a cheeseburger for $26, yogurt for $12, pancakes for $22, a muffin for $14, and an ice cream sandwich for $14. If none of the room service options suit guests’ appetites, they can order a chicken pot pie for $29 in the hotel’s bar.
  • SEIU spent over $70,000 at the 5-star MGM Grand Detroit, one of the nicest hotels there. The hotel has a casino, a spa, an indoor pool, and Wolfgang Puck Steak, which received a 4-star rating from the Forbes Travel Guide. This rating makes the steakhouse the highest-rated restaurant in the state, according to Forbes.
  • SEIU spent over $27,000 at the 5-star MotorCity Casino Hotel in Detroit, also one of the nicest hotels in Detroit. Guests can use the hotel’s spa and its pillow library and dine at the hotel’s AAA Four Diamond Award-winning restaurant, Iridescence. Iridescence is one of only five restaurants in the state receiving this award. At Iridescence, the menu includes caviar for $125 and a 6-ounce Japanese steak for $120.
  • SEIU spent over $5,000 at the 5-star Taj Boston, which was previously a Ritz-Carlton. The hotel is noted for its “vast array of museum-worthy artwork.” The hotel’s restaurant, The Café, received the AAA Four Diamond Award; it is one only twelve restaurants in the state receiving this award. The hotel is located on the same block as Burberry, Brooks Brother’s, and Armani, and is across the street from Boston Commons. A Tiffany & Co. boutique can be accessed from the hotel’s lobby. The hotel offers guests a pillow menu, a bath menu, a bath butler, and complimentary shoeshines. A seasonal fireplace butler is available to assist guests staying in the hotel’s fireplace suites.

It’s a little hard to believe that SEIU had to spend over $2 million of its members’ money at fancy, swanky hotels in just one year. Surely, there were other less costly lodging options that SEIU could have chosen if SEIU’s bosses wanted to conserve their members’ funds. But because SIEU chose to spend its members’ money in this fashion, SEIU members are due an explanation as to who is traveling in luxury at their expense and why.

Richard McCarty is the Director of Research for Americans for Limited Government Foundation.

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