UNITE HERE and Hyatt reach national agreement

Hyatt Hotels Corp. and UNITE HERE, the union of hospitality workers in the United States and Canada, announced a national agreement July 1 that resolves longstanding disputes between the two organizations. The agreement creates a framework for the company and the union to work together moving forward. Both UNITE HERE and Hyatt hailed the pact as a positive step.

The agreement will go into effect upon the settlement and ratification of union contracts by Hyatt workers in San Francisco, Honolulu, Los Angeles and Chicago. Pending approval, the contracts will provide retroactive wage increases and maintain quality health care and pension benefits. The proposed new contracts would cover workers into 2018.

A key provision of the agreement establishes a fair process, which includes a mechanism for employees at a number of Hyatt hotels to vote on whether they wish to be represented by UNITE HERE. As part of the accord, upon ratification of the union contracts, UNITE HERE will end its global boycott of Hyatt.

D. Taylor, president of UNITE HERE, said, “We look forward to a new collaborative relationship with Hyatt. This agreement shows that when workers across the hotel industry stand together, they can move forward, even in a tough economy. Both organizations deserve credit for working out this constructive step forward.”

Last November, UNITE HERE Local 8 and Hyatt signed a neutrality agreement on a proposed Hyatt-flagged headquarters hotel at the Oregon Convention Center in Northeast Portland. Mortenson Development Inc. is asking the Portland Development Commission, Portland City Council and the Metro regional government for a package of public incentives for a privately-built privately-operated hotel operation consisting of 600 rooms.

Under the agreement, workers would be free to join a union of their choosing, and could do so through a “card check” process or through a government-administered election.

The Columbia-Pacific Building Trades Council also has assurance that the hotel will be built with union labor.

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