The Fred and Nancy DeMatteis Award is presented to an individual whose work and personal efforts reflect the spirit and legacy of the DeMatteis Family, creating a better world for those less fortunate and in need of support.
Peter Ward President, New York Hotel and Motel Trades Council, AFL-CIO
Peter Ward is the President of the New York Hotel & Motel Trades Council, AFL-CIO, the union that represents more than 35,000 hotel workers in New York City, Northern New Jersey and the Westchester and Albany-Saratoga areas.
Hotel Trades Council members come from diverse ethnic backgrounds and cultures and are emblematic of the successive generations who built New York and the USA. They account for a large percentage of the workforce of the city’s tourism industry that serves as an economic engine for New York. Ward recognizes the importance of visitors to the city and has always worked closely with hotel industry officials and elected leaders to keep New York as a prime destination for travelers, as the tourism capital of the world, and as a source of good employment.
The industry-wide agreement (IWA) negotiated by Peter Ward provides excellent wages, and working conditions, as well as job security and full family medical and dental benefits. In a step considered by many labor and employment observers to be unprecedented, in 2015 Ward negotiated an extension of the existing IWA, until the year 2026, with substantial wage increases and an iron-clad guarantee of free medical and dental care for members and their families for the life of the contract. The union’s health plan, which it administers jointly with the Hotel Association of NYC, Inc., has served as a model for the negotiations between the City of New York and many of its municipal unions. Last year the Hotel Trades Council and the Hotel Association opened their newest health center—a $150 million state-of-the-art facility in the heart of Brooklyn.
As many new hotels continue to come online in New York the Hotel Trades Council, under Ward’s direction, has kept pace. The union has successfully organized workers over 60 new hotels since 2014.
Born in Brooklyn, Peter Ward is committed to making New York the best place possible as the home and workplace of most Hotel Trades Council members. This commitment includes encouraging members to become politically aware and to help elect candidates who understand and support their values. Peter has played an active role in keeping issues important to the Trades Council in front of elected officials, and forging important partnerships that benefit the union, its members and their families.
Peter Ward’s community and civic activities are extensive. He has served as co-chair of the Labor Luncheons for the Boy Scouts of America, one of many organizations that have honored him for his community service. He received the Irish-American Labor Coalition's top award for his "outstanding contributions to the American labor movement and for the cause of Irish freedom." The Center Against Domestic Violence has recognized him for his work on behalf of abused women. He has also received the New York City Central Labor Council's top award for contributions to the labor movement. In 2012, he received the Yitzhak Rabin Leadership and Public Service Award.
He is a former board member of the Convention and Visitors Bureau, the predecessor of NYC & Company, and a former co-chair of the Hudson Yards coalition. He was appointed as a member of the three-person New York Wage Commission whose recommendations on an increase in the minimum wage for tipped workers were put into effect by the state. In addition, he serves as the Recording Secretary of the UNITE HERE International Union and as a member of the Executive Boards of the New York City Central Labor Council and the New York State AFL-CIO. He also serves on the Board of the Metropolitan Transportation Agency (MTA).
Peter Ward and his wife of 35 years, Debra, have two daughters, Tina and Nicole.
The 2018 Rising Star Award
The Rising Star Award is presented to a person(s) who embodies the spirit and work of the HSVS Junior Board and serves as an ambassador of change for our City's most vulnerable children, families and individuals.
Robert Rutkoff Vice President, Corporate Social Responsibility, Guggenheim Partners
Robert Rutkoff is the Vice President, Corporate Social Responsibility for Guggenheim Partners, the global investment and advisory firm with more than 2,300 professionals worldwide. In this role he manages the firm’s strategic and philanthropic giving as well as community engagement and volunteerism for Guggenheim’s 1,000+ employees in New York. Before joining Guggenheim, Robert spent seven years working in the non-profit sector in development and as a teacher in Brooklyn through Teach For America. Robert received his M.B.A. from Columbia Business School, where he received the Nathan Gantcher Prize for Social Enterprise, his M.A. from Hunter College, and his B.A. from the University of Michigan. Robert is a member of the New York Next Generation Board for the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. Robert lives in Brooklyn with his wife and son.
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