Wed., June 1, 2011 6:00pm (EDT)

Report: After Attacks, New York Hotels To Equip Maids With 'Panic Button'
By Eyder Peralta
Updated: 3 years ago

The Sofitel hotel in New York, where IMF head Dominique Strauss-Kahn allegedly sexually assaulted a hotel maid.
Two high-profile attacks on hotel maids are leading to a change in security at two Manhattan hotels: The Wall Street Journal reports that according to union officials, the Pierre Hotel and the Sofitel New York will equip their room attendants with panic buttons in case they are attacked.

The Journal reports the change came after a meeting with union officials:

"Let everybody in the world traveling to New York know that when they stay in a hotel room, the person cleaning that room is armed with a button that they can immediately press if you're stupid enough to get inappropriate," said Peter Ward, president of the New York Hotel & Motel Trades Council, which represents about 30,000 workers.

A Pierre spokeswoman, Nora Walsh, confirmed that the hotel will give room attendants the alarmsmodeled after those used by some elderly people to alert a central security officeas soon as a system can be devised.

...

Mr. Ward added that the union has begun working on legislation to make panic buttons mandatory at all New York hotels and would be asking for language requiring them in the next union contract. The current contract expires next year.

The change comes after former International Monetary Fund chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn and Mahmoud Abdel Salam Omar, the chairman of an Egyptian salt-production company, were accused of sexually attacking hotel housekeepers.


Copyright 2011 National Public Radio. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.