DSK buttons for NY hotel staff within a year

Hotels across New York City have agreed to equip their employees with panic alarms that would summon help in case of an emergency.

That provision, scheduled to be put in place within a year, is included in a new seven-year labour contract that the Hotel Association of New York City approved last week. The agreement was presented to the 30,000 members of the hotel workers’ union, the New York Hotel Trades Council and is scheduled for ratification on 13 February.

Neither union officials nor representatives of the hotel owners said the Dominique Strauss-Kahn case had spurred the provision. The charges against Strauss-Kahn, the former director of the International Monetary Fund, were eventually dropped.

But the heavily publicised case brought into focus the danger faced by housekeepers and other employees who frequently enter guest rooms alone. The provision calls for the hotels to equip certain employees with “devices to be carried on their persons at work that they can quickly and easily activate to effectively summon prompt assistance to their location”. The devices have been quickly labelled ‘DSK buttons’.

New York Hotel Trades Council spokesman John Turchiano says the provision must be implemented within a year.

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