Unions launch global boycott of Hyatt

By Mark Gruenberg, PAI Union News Service

WASHINGTON, D.C.  — Fed up with the Hyatt hotel chain’s continued alleged mistreatment and discrimination against its workers, unions and other organizations on July 23 launched a boycott of many Hyatts.  Later in the week, protesters marched in front of Hyatt hotels in 20 cities.

There are no unionized Hyatt hotels in Oregon.

Hyatt housekeeper Elvia Bahena was fired—just two weeks after she testified publically about the abuses she faces working in the Indianapolis hotel industry.

The boycott comes as UNITE HERE, the union representing Hyatt’s workers, reports no progress in solving the issues that led to the drastic move.

“Hyatt systematically abuses housekeepers and other hotel workers, and it is unacceptable in 2012 that women endure debilitating injuries as a result of the work they do cleaning rooms,” UNITE HERE President John Wilhelm told a press conference. “We call on Hyatt to end its systematic abuse of housekeepers and adopt the recommendations made by the federal government to reduce the physical strain associated with housekeeping work.”

Hyatt’s actions include mass firing of its unionized Boston housekeepers, their replacement by out-of-state temps paid minimum wage, and posting sexually derogatory images of two of its Hispanic female housekeepers in one California Hyatt hotel. There have been so many anti-worker Hyatt actions in Indianapolis that the city council there passed a workers’ rights ordinance banning reliance on temps.

Working conditions in Hyatt hotels produce so many ergonomic injuries that the chain drew a warning letter in May about the problem from the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration. There have been no OSHA sanctions, yet.

Hyatt also refuses to negotiate improved wages and working conditions at its unionized hotels.

The wide-ranging coalition boycotting Hyatt includes the AFL-CIO,  the National Football League Players Association, the National Organization for Women and other womens’ rights, gay rights, and religious groups.

The boycott does not cover Hyatt hotels with union contracts in force in Hawaii, New York City, San Jose, Monterey and Mission Bay, Calif., Philadelphia, Atlanta, Dearborn, Mich., Denver, Toronto, Rosemont, Ill., Vancouver, B.C., and Washington, D.C.

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