7 On Your Side: Helmsley Hotels severance pay

Seven On Your Side
August 20, 2010 8:45:11 PM PDT
34 employees fired months ago were out more than a half a million dollars in severance.

The money was owed to them by a corporation once owned by the "Queen of Mean", Leona Helmsley.

At the Middletowne Hotel, the people Eyewitness News spoke to said they worked at the hotel for more than two decades.

Last May, the door closed on them for the last time.

The parent company, Helmsley Hotels, of late Leona Helmsley empire, shut the hotel down and fired everyone.

34 employees from bellmen to telephone operators were all out of work.

Each of the workers was supposed to be paid 6 months severance if terminated, according to the contract between Helmsley Hotels and members of the 32BJ union.

Out of work and struggling to survive, the union members called to 7 On Your Side.

Eyewitness News reached out to the union and Helmsley hotels to see what the hold up was.

Both sides were negotiating, which left members guessing.

"All we want to know is the truth, and we want to get our money. We deserve this," Mark Grant said.

They wanted answers and wound up with much more.

Within a few weeks, the long overdue checks arrived at union headquarters.

The checks amounted to more than $600,000.

Helmsley Hotels stated at no time was there an issue with respect to paying severance to their employees, but agreed there was a delay in getting an agreement.

The delay lasted more than 3 months, but in the end the union members got their pay.

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