New York Hotels to Provide ‘Panic Buttons’ for Housekeeping Staff

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Less than a year after the high-profile case against Dominique Strauss-Kahn, the New York Hotel Trades Council, a union that represents more than 30,000 hotels, presented a proposal Tuesday to require hotels across the city to provide portable, emergency devices not only to housekeepers but also to any employee who has cause to enter guests’ rooms.

Strauss-Kahn was arrested last year for allegedly sexually assaulting Nafissatou Diallo, a maid at the Sofitel hotel in New York City. He subsequently resigned from his position at the IMF, but the accuser’s credibility started to look shaky and prosecutors ended up dropping the charges. Less than a week later, a similar arrest occurred involving Mahmoud Abdel-Salam Omar, an Egyptian businessman, the Daily Mail points out.

(PHOTOS: The Case of Dominique Strauss-Kahn)

Following the incidents, two luxury hotels in Manhattan, the Pierre and the Sofitel, supplied “panic buttons” to their housekeepers in case they felt threatened or needed help, Reuters reports.

Though union representatives have not officially linked the recent proposal to the recent alleged assaults, union spokesman John Turchiano acknowledged the connection in an interview with Reuters:

“It’s unfortunate but there are instances when guests behave inappropriately. This would be a really good way to cut down on that and give our members strong protections.”

The seven-year contract also includes larger pension contributions, fully paid health coverage and significant pay raises that would increase the average housekeeper’s annual salary from about $46,000 to just short of $60,000, the Daily Mail reports.

If all goes as planned, the proposal will require hotels to distribute the devices within a year.

MORE: Dominique Strauss-Kahn’s Maddeningly Luxe Lifestyle