Friday, September 25, 2009

Bring Back the Hyatt 100!

Hyatts Face Protests After Layoffs in Boston Area

Supporters of the Hyatt 100 rally in Boston

Hyatt Hotels is facing a wave of anger and protests as a result of its decision to lay off 98 members of its housekeeping staff at three Boston area hotels and replace them with lower paid workers.

Upset by the layoffs, Gov. Deval Patrick of Massachusetts has called on state employees to boycott Hyatt hotels unless the company reinstates the workers. In a letter sent Wednesday to Hyatt's chief executive, Mr. Patrick called what happened "the worst nightmare of every worker in today's weak economy."

He added, "Surely there is some way to retain the jobs for your housekeeping staff, as other hotels have done, and to work with them to help the company meet its current challenges, rather than tossing them out unceremoniously to fend for themselves while the people they trained take their jobs at barely livable wages."

The company laid off its housekeeping staff at the Hyatt Regency Boston, Hyatt Regency Cambridge and Hyatt Harborside at Logan International Airport. Hyatt subcontracted the housekeeping work to Hospitality Staffing Solutions of Georgia, which says it provides 4,500 workers to hotels in more than 30 cities.

Lucine Williams, who had worked at the Hyatt Regency Boston for 22 years, said that when management told the workers they were being laid off late on Aug. 31, they were told that was their last day.

More than 150 hotel workers and their supporters were arrested on Thursday afternoon in front of the Park Hyatt in Chicago as they demonstrated in support of the workers in Boston.

About the Hyatt 100 . . .

On August 31 all housekeepers at Hyatt’s three non-union Boston area hotels (The Hyatt Regency Cambridge, Hyatt Harborside and Hyatt Regency Boston) were called into meetings and fired. They were given their last paychecks, told to clean out their lockers and leave.

• Many had worked for the hotels for more than 20 years.

• They weren’t laid off for a lack of occupied rooms to clean. Hyatt housekeepers with benefits were replaced by a subcontractor with employees making minimum wage.

• Hyatt made $1.3 billion profit from 2004-2008, and had $1.2 billion in cash as of early August.

• Some housekeepers were directed in previous months to train the subcontractor’s employees. When workers asked whether they were going to be replaced by subcontractors supervisors consistently denied that this would happen.

We won’t let people be treated this way.

Bring back the Hyatt 100!

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