Representatives of the city's union of hotel employes and hotel managers stayed in continuous negotiations past the strike deadline yesterday, but apparently little progress toward agreement on a new contract.
The union's 6,000 employes including maids, dishwaters and bellmen waited throughout the day to see if a strike would be ordered when the old contract expired at midnight Friday. The union leaders say a strike would cripple the city's hotel industry.
If the hotel strike occurs guests may find themselves changing and making the beds, washing out their bathtubs, dusting their rooms, mixing their drinks and being unable to either receive room service or make telephone calls from their rooms.
"Guests will have to rough it . . . I guess they will have to bring their own sandwiches," said Ron Richardson, the union's chief negotiator. Richardson is also secretary-treasurer of Local 25.
Cyprian Tilghman, president of Local 25 of the Hotel and Restaurant Employes Union, said there would be no strike as long as there was hope of a settlement. But he added the two sides were still far apart and the outlook for averting a walkout "doesn't look good."
"If you have a dog and you continue to drop crumbs from the table, that dog is subject to stay around," Tilghman said. "The crumbs are not enough and not fast enough but at as long as we can eat a bite we don't want to snatch 6,000 out."
Allen G. Siegel, labor counsel and chief negotiator for the 39-member Hotel Association, which includes all the city's major hotels, said, "We're further apart than I ever thought we'd be."
"Our pay proposal exceeds" the wage increases granted in the contract negotiated three years ago, he said. "We're met some major fringe benefit demands but they (the union leaders) are still intransigent."
But Tilghman disagreed, saying the management proposal contained only higher wages for some employes and not others.
He said there were four major points of contention and that one appeared close to resolution yesterday afternoon, but he refused to identify which one.
The four major areas of disagreement are the amount of the wage increase, a program to provide free legal aid for employes to be financed by management, free meals for all hotel employes and an increase in the number of paid sick days from three to nine.
A union official speculated early Saturday morning that hotel managers were engaged in such hard bargaining because they had given the union a very good contract three years ago anticipating visitors.
But the expected revenue and tourist surge never materialized, and union officials say that management now wants to retrench.
The negotiators have been closeted on the 11th floor of theL'Enfant Plaza Hotel since 10 o'clock Friday morning along with federal mediator Harold Mills, who volunteered his services to try to resolve the dispute.
The talks have been characterized by counterproposals following coun-during the week, according to the Washington Area Convention and Visitors Bureau.
Although the union represents a wide range of hotel employes, 60 percent are black and Spanish-speaking women, and many support their family single-handedly on wages that in terproposals. This coming week marks the beginning of the lucrative fall convention season, and 10,000 conventioneers are expected in the District many instances total under $200 a week.
Tilghman was referring to these women when he said: "A strike is a hardship for everyone involved. But these multimillion dollar corporations can absorb a strike better than a maid or dishwater making $3.50 an hour."
If the union attmepts to strike only one or two hotels, he suggested that the management of the remaining hotels would probably lock out their employes. Siegel has refused to comment on the possibility of a lockout but he has said that if faced with a walkout the hotels would exercise their right to replace striking employes.
The last hotel strike in Washington occurred in 1946 and lasted three weeks.