Boston hoteliers and Unite Here Local 26, the union that represents hotel employees in Boston, ended their five-month stalemate late last week by agreeing to a new six-year deal. The deal covers about 5,000 workers at 19 hotels.

Negotiations, ongoing since the last contract expired on November 30, 2006, took place with four Starwood properties--Sheraton Boston, Boston Park Plaza Hotel and Towers, Westin Boston Waterfront, and the Westin Copley Place. The other 15 union hotels signed “me too” agreements, meaning they will accept the terms that Starwood reached.

The contract met union workers’ key demands for increased wages, improved healthcare and retirement benefits, and workload requirements, according to the union. In the last month or so, talks had stalled and workers had picketed in front of some Boston hotels. “There is no longer a risk of strike, lockout, or other labor unrest” in Boston, stated the union on its Web site.

Boston was among seven major North American cities where hotel worker contracts expired in 2006. Of those seven, six cities--New York, San Francisco, Toronto, Chicago, Honolulu, and Boston--have settled. Only Los Angeles, where contracts expired last November 30, has not agreed to a new contract with union workers, according to a recent article in The Boston Globe.

In other union news, the American Library Association joined the Informed Meetings Exchange, a group formed by Unite here last year to provide information and education to meeting planners as they relate to labor issues.