| NEW YORK
NEW YORK Feb 8 Hotels in New York City
have agreed to give housekeepers personal panic buttons in the
wake of a hotel maid's charge she was sexually assaulted by
former IMF chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn.
The panic buttons were among several items included in a
contract proposal presented on Tuesday to the city's hotel union
that was expected to win approval early next week.
Strauss-Kahn was arrested in May for allegedly sexually
assaulting a hotel maid cleaning his suite at the luxury
Sofitel. Strauss-Kahn resigned as director of the International
Monetary Fund and authorities eventually dropped the charges
against him, citing doubts about his accuser's credibility.
After Strauss-Kahn's arrest, the Sofitel and the Pierre,
another high-end hotel in midtown Manhattan, both decided to
give panic buttons, which can be used to summon help when they
feel endangered, to maids. Now housekeepers at all of the
biggest hotels in the city will be equipped with the devices.
"It's unfortunate but there are instances when guests behave
inappropriately," said John Turchiano, spokesman for the New
York Hotel Trades Council, the union representing more than
30,000 hotel workers in the area. "This would be a really good
way to cut down on that and give our members strong
Employers would be required to give panic buttons to any
hotel worker entering an occupied guest room, according to the
The Hotel Association of New York approved the devices last
"They can quickly and easily activate these devices to
effectively summon prompt assistance to their locations," said
association spokeswoman Lisa Linden.
State Assemblyman Rory Lancman, who introduced a bill in the
state legislature last year calling for panic buttons, applauded
their inclusion in the proposed contract.
"It's an important but simple step to protect housekeepers
from assault," Lancman said.
(Editing by Paul Thomasch and Bill Trott)