Unite Here and Hyatt Hit Hiccups in Peace Process

By Bruce Vail

It's been a long road—Unite Here protesting Hyatt Hotel Corp in Chicago in 2009. (Jean Paul Holmes / Wikimedia Commons

It’s been a long road—Unite Here protesting Hyatt Hotel Corp in Chicago in 2009. (Jean Paul Holmes / Wikimedia Commons

A widely heralded union peace agreement that would end a global boycott of Hyatt Hotels Corp and usher in a new era of better labor relations at the sprawling lodgings chain is hitting some potholes on the road to completion, but both sides are still expressing confidence in its ultimate success.

Announced July 1, Hyatt’s “national agreement” with the Unite Here union was advertised as the way to quickly end bitter fights over expired labor contracts at nine hotels in four different cities and to provide a smooth path forward for settling related disputes elsewhere. At the time, Unite Here President Donald Taylor said the contracts would be finalized over the next four to six weeks. After that, a second phase would begin in which several new organizing initiatives would go forward. Continue reading

‘Hyatt Hurts’ Boycott Inflicts Pain on the Hotel Giant (Updated)

by Bruce Vail

 

Jeff Nelson (R), research director of UNITE HERE, with Charlotte Knox (L), a 25-year veteran housekeeper at the Hyatt Regency Baltimore who told the City Council that working conditions have deteriorated.   (Photo courtesy of Bill Hughes/UNITE HERE)

Jeff Nelson (R), research director of UNITE HERE, with Charlotte Knox (L), a 25-year veteran housekeeper at the Hyatt Regency Baltimore who told the City Council that working conditions have deteriorated. (Photo courtesy of Bill Hughes/UNITE HERE)

UPDATE: The full 14-member Baltimore City Council voted unanimously on March 18 to approve a resolution aimed at the Hyatt Regency Baltimore hotel, where a union organizing drive is currently underway. The resolution, passed in a voice vote, calls on Hyatt to sign a ‘Labor Peace Agreement’ to improve hiring practices and to protect the city’s financial interests as a union-sponsored global boycott goes forward. 

BALTIMORE—Hyatt Corp received an implicit vote of ‘no confidence’ from the Baltimore City Council late last week when the Labor Committee advanced a resolution to halt the hotel giant’s union suppression efforts.

The resolution pressures Hyatt to sign a ‘Labor Peace Agreement’ that would allow UNITE HERE Local 7’s organizing campaign at the Hyatt Regency Baltimore to go forward without obstruction from managers. Approved in a 3-0 vote on March 14, the resolution now heads to the full City Council, where it enjoys overwhelming support.

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Nation’s Top Latino Civil Rights Groups Join Global Boycott Of Hyatt Hotels

Groups join growing list of supporters urging Hyatt to improve substandard working conditions for housekeeping staff

 

3HispLogosWASHINGTON, D.C.-Today, the Labor Council for Latin American Advancement (LCLAA), NCLR (National Council of La Raza), the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund (MALDEF)  joined a global boycott of Hyatt hotels in response to widespread evidence of harmful working conditions for hotel housekeepers, who are predominantly women of color, including Latinas.  The groups pledged to not hold any conventions, conferences, special events or major meetings at Hyatt hotels covered by the boycott.

UNITE HERE announced the boycott on July 23, 2012.  Since then, the effort to push for the improvement of working conditions and ensure the right of workers to organize has received increasing support from more than 5,000 individuals and organizations, including the AFL-CIO, the NFL Players Association, the National Organization of Women (NOW), Feminist Majority, the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, Netroots Nation and Interfaith Worker Justice.  To date, the boycott has cost the company more than $27 million in business.
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Housekeepers urge Hyatt to add hotel worker to its Board of Directors

In demonstrations nationwide, workers say “someone like me” will make Hyatt a better company for employees and shareholders alike

someonelikeme[Chicago, Ill.] In recent years, Hyatt has faced tough criticism for its record of labor abuses. Now housekeepers say they have a simple solution to move Hyatt in a new direction. In events nationwide this week, Hyatt workers are urging the company to add a hotel worker to its board of directors. Workers say Hyatt would be better off if someone who served hotel guests at some point in the last decade actually had a say in how the company is run.

On Tuesday, national actions kicked off at Hyatt headquarters in Chicago, where hotel workers  submitted a resolution to the company for consideration at the annual shareholders meeting in June 2013. Hyatt workers in San Francisco, Los Angeles, San Antonio, Baltimore, Phoenix, Honolulu and Seattle are also holding events this week. Holding signs and speaking before large crowds, housekeepers say “someone like me” would make Hyatt a better company, for workers and shareholders alike. Democratic corporate governance structures that include workers have been successful in European countries for decades.

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NLRB Backs Hyatt Workers Fired During Union Campaign

by Bruce Vail

Fired hotel worker Mike Jones speaks out against the managers of the Hyatt Regency Baltimore at a Nov. 13 press conference. Also shown are NAACP representative Tessa Hill-Aston (center) and UNITE HERE Local 7 President Roxie Herbekian (far right).   Photo by UNITE HERE.

Fired hotel worker Mike Jones speaks out against the managers of the Hyatt Regency Baltimore at a Nov. 13 press conference. Also shown are NAACP representative Tessa Hill-Aston (center) and UNITE HERE Local 7 President Roxie Herbekian (far right). Photo by UNITE HERE.

BALTIMORE – “They fired me [for organizing],” said Hyatt worker Mike Jones at a Baltimore rally this month hosted by Hyatt Hurts, a nationwide campaign against labor abuses at the hotel chain. Jones, a 10-year employee of the Hyatt Regency Baltimore, is one of four workers there who claim they were axed in a crackdown against a unionization initiative by UNITE HERE Local 7.

Jones’ statement has been backed up by the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), which filed a complaint against the hotel November 1. In the complaint, NLRB Acting Regional Director Albert W. Palewicz ordered a formal hearing on the charges to be held on January 14, 2013.

According to Jones, the Local 7 unionization campaign has been under way for about 18 months, but was not confirmed to hotel managers until May of this year. Since then, he says, managers have singled out union supporters for unfair disciplinary procedures in order to build a case for firings and to intimidate other workers.

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If You’re Not Excited You’re Not Paying Attention

by Street Heat

Since my last post, we have witnessed a series of events that can only be seen as vindication of those of us who have rejected the notion that the death of the labor movement is a foregone conclusion. Also vindicated is the perspective that labor must begin strategically targeting and organizing in such a way that can shift the balance of power in whole markets in order to win.

It would seem there are more than a few in labor who are determined to turn things around. They are proving the crisis of labor is in fact deep, but not insurmountable.

The Chicago teachers strike pitted the third largest teachers union in the country, the 25,000 member Chicago Teachers Union (CTU)  against Barack Obama’s former chief of staff, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanual. The stage was set for a confrontation between CTU and their newly elected militant leadership and Chicago’s Democratic Party establishment. Known as a ruthless political opponent, Emanuel was outmaneuvered by bold and aggressive organizing that framed the issue successfully and truthfully as a battle to save public education for Chicago’s children. The CTU was able to maintain public support throughout the strike and were both aggressive enough to win substantial gains as well as pragmatic and saavy enough not wage an open ended strike, resulting in making concrete improvements both in conditions for Chicago’s students as well as working conditions for the Teachers. By rejecting the pro austerity narrative and controlling the framing of the struggle as one for justice and fairness the Teachers defeated attempts to isolate them. All in all, a solid win in an age where strikes are seldom planned and even more seldom won.

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Hyatt Hurts: Crossing the Picket Line Hurts Everyone

Jennifer Kauffman is an AFL-CIO immigration policy and training associate. These are her thoughts on allies crossing the Hyatt picket line to attend the 2012 Online News Association Conference & Awards Banquet (ONA).

Colleagues in the immigration advocacy and DREAM movement have wondered aloud whether journalist Jose Antonio Vargas crossing the picket line was such a bad thing, after all, since he drew the attention of more than 100 journalists to the plight of the Hyatt Hurts campaign workers.

The answer is simply this: Crossing a picket hurts EVERYONE.

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A Message from Hyatt Housekeepers

Hyatt Housekeepers

Housekeepers nationwide need your help. If you’ve ever stayed at a Hyatt and had a good night’s sleep, you have a housekeeper to thank for your fresh sheets and fluffed pillows. But invisible to hotel guests is the pain and hardship that housekeepers endure to provide us with an atmosphere of comfort and luxury.

That’s Hyatt housekeepers have launched a global boycott of Hyatt. Please take two seconds to support them by voting Hyatt the Worst Hotel Employer in America at VoteHyattWorst.Org

Worldwide, we are calling on two million people to take a stand and Vote Hyatt Worst. By joining together, we will urge Hyatt to change its ways.

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