CFL News
September 08, 2011

Hyatt workers go on strike

Workers at the Hyatt Regency and Hyatt McCormick Place go on strike as contract negotiations fail to reach agreement

By Chicago Federation of Labor

[CHICAGO] Hyatt workers in Chicago join thousands of Hyatt hotel workers on Thursday in launching week-long strikes in cities nationwide, including Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Honolulu. Workers from the Hyatt Regency Chicago and the Hyatt McCormick are participating in local strikes.  By striking, workers are standing up for decent jobs for themselves and their families, but they are also fighting for the right to take a stand against an abusive employer that is destroying good jobs in their North American hotels.

Click here to view a photo gallery ofthe picket line

“Two years ago, the Hyatt Regency renovated the hotel and brought in larger, heavier beds. It makes my job much more difficult. I can't lift the mattress because my left arm feels like it's coming out of the socket,” says Angela Martinez, a housekeeper at the Hyatt Regency with 23 years of service. “We are hard-working women, not machines.  I'm on strike because I want the right to stand up to Hyatt wherever it is abusing housekeepers.”

Hyatt workers have called for boycotts at 17 Hyatt properties and have led dozens of public demonstrations all across North America. Already, Hyatt has lost over $20 million in hotel business. 

“Hyatt is one of the most abusive hotels in their treatment of housekeepers and has the worst record on subcontracting,” says Henry Tamarin, the President of UNITE HERE Local 1. “They refuse to budge on these important issues, and workers want the right to take on Hyatt wherever these abuses occur.”

UNITE HERE Local 1 represents approximately 1000 workers at the Hyatt Regency and the Hyatt McCormick Place. Contracts for area Hyatt workers expired on August 31, 2009. This week of Hyatt strikes follows other work stoppages at Hyatt properties in Chicago, including  a strike at the Park Hyatt on July 21, 2011, a strike at the Hyatt Regency on June 20, 2011, and a one-day strike at the Hyatt Regency in Rosemont in September 20101.  In May 2010, Hyatt Regency workers—led by more than 100 housekeepers—walked off the job, protesting worsening working conditions in housekeeping after a major hotel renovation.

Workers in each striking city have reached agreements with other major hotel employers, like Hilton and Starwood. This week’s strike affects approximately 3,000 unionized hotel workers at six hotel properties across North America, including the largest Hyatt property in the world—the Hyatt Regency Chicago.

UNITE HERE represents over 250,000 workers throughout the U.S. and Canada who work in the hospitality, gaming, food service, manufacturing, textile, laundry, and airport industries. Visit HotelWorkersRising.org for more info.

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