Thousands of workers in a dozen cities across North America will hold a coordinated series of public demonstrations this week to demand that Hyatt Hotels “Bring Back the Hyatt 100.” Hyatt fired 100 housekeepers from its three Boston-area hotels after asking the workers to train their replacements from an outsourcing agency. The action has ignited a national controversy for the newly-public Hyatt Hotels, which launched an initial public offering of its stock on November 5, 2009.
The firing of the “Hyatt 100” housekeepers stands as the most dramatic example of Hyatt’s contributing to the nation’s unemployment problem and healthcare crisis. The incident has drawn the ire of workers and community leaders alike, including Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick, who said that he would call on state agencies to boycott the three Boston-area hotels if the housekeepers were not recalled.
Hyatt is using the economy as an excuse to dramatically lower the living standards of hotel workers in other cities as well. They are eliminating jobs, proposing healthcare cuts, and getting a smaller pool of workers to work harder and faster. While this marks a trend involving several major hotel companies, Hyatt is the starkest example.
“Hyatt’s cashing out almost a billion dollars for its owners (The Pritzker Family of Chicago) but at the same time they are pushing to make healthcare unaffordable for me and my family?” remarked Aurolyn Rush, a 13-year telephone operator at the Grand Hyatt San Francisco – the site of a three day strike last week. “That’s unforgivable. And what Hyatt is doing to those housekeepers in Boston is outrageous. We’re not going to stand for it.”
The Hyatt 100 solidarity actions begin with a march and rally of hundreds of workers in Toronto on November 10 and will continue through November 19 in Boston, Los Angeles, San Antonio, San Diego, Vancouver BC, Indianapolis, Chicago, Philadelphia, Santa Clar,a and San Francisco.
Unite Here represents over 300,000 workers throughout the US and Canada who work in the hospitality, gaming, food service, manufacturing, textile, laundry, and airport industries.