Board of Trustees of the Maryland State Retirement and Pension System
Position Statement Regarding Fair Treatment of Hotel Employees


Baltimore, MD (August 15, 2023) — Recently, it has come to the Board’s attention, through information provided by Unite Here, that certain human capital management practices regarding hotel employees may be inconsistent with the Board’s policies and values. As a responsible asset owner and steward of public pension funds, the Board of Trustees is committed to promoting strong labor policies among its partners to maximize the long-term value of its investments. The Board believes and research supports that a diverse, fairly compensated and well-trained workforce is best positioned to deliver high quality products and services, which in turn increases the likelihood of meeting investment objectives.

Two specific areas of concern for hotel employees are the chronic shortage of staffing in the industry and efforts by management to thwart employees attempts to improve their work experience through collective bargaining.

Providing for and appropriate level of staffing is an important element of effective human capital management. A workplace that is short-staffed may result in deteriorating working conditions and a workforce that is stretched too thin, negatively impacting performance and customer service for hotel guests. A fully staffed and resourced workplace allows employees to effectively complete their assigned responsibilities within their scheduled work day. This environment should result in improved customer service through a satisfied and motivated workforce.

The Board also supports and encourages a position of neutrality in the event there is a legitimate attempt to organize workers at a System-owned property, and strongly encourages managers, property managers and contractors to similarly take a position of neutrality in such an event. To remain “neutral” means not taking any action or making any statement that will directly or indirectly state or imply any support for or opposition to the selection by employees of a collective bargaining agent, or preference or opposition to any particular union as a bargaining agent. Obstructing workers’ legitimate efforts to seek representation on the job can have a negative impact on the value of System assets and open managers and their partners to litigation and reputational risk.

The Board would like to express its concern for the welfare of all hotel employees. This concern is memorialized by the Board in its Responsible Contractor Policy that includes expectation that contractors hired to manage and service System-owned properties will demonstrate responsible labor relations and governance policies in their operations, including fair employment practices and appropriate consideration for employees in all cases.