UNITE-HERE has launched a campaign to boycott Hyatt Hotels. The primary reason is the very bad working conditions to which it subjects its housekeeping staff. Here’s 10 reasons why:
1. Don’t let the door hit you on the way out. Hyatt fired its entire housekeeping staff in Boston and replaced them with temp workers earning minimum wage.
2. Three days for a C-Section? Hyatt demanded a dishwasher in San Francisco come back to work three days after she had a C-section. When she refused, Hyatt tried to fire her.
3. Crushing Workloads. Some Hyatt housekeepers clean up to 30 rooms per eight-hour shift, requiring rushing that can lead to serious injuries and even permanent disability.
4. Even the federal government thinks there’s a problem. The federal government has issued a companywide letter to Hyatt, warning the company of hazards its housekeepers face on the job. It’s a first in the hotel industry.
5. And the experts agree. In a study published in the American Journal of Industrial Medicine examining a total of 50 hotel properties from 5 different hotel companies, Hyatt housekeepers had the highest injury rate of all housekeepers studied when compared by hotel company.
6. Citations issued nationwide. OSHA or its state counterparts have issued 18 health and safety citations against Hyatt at 11 hotels and 3 citations against one of Hyatt’s housekeeping subcontractors with over $100,000 in proposed penalties.
7. Adding insult to injuries. In 2011, Hyatt took the lead in lobbying against legislation in California that would make housekeeping work safer.
8. You rally, you roast. Hyatt turned heat lamps on protesting workers during a brutal heat wave.
9. Unjust firings. Hyatt fired a housekeeper and her sister – who had 30 years of service combined – after one of them tore down digitally-altered photos of housekeepers in bikinis that were posted in the break room.
10. You want a job AND you want to get paid? Hyatt’s subcontracted workers in Indianapolis filed a lawsuit for not getting paid for all the hours they worked. Hyatt responded by firing the subcontractor, putting in jeopardy the jobs of people who bravely stepped forward in the lawsuit.
While many of the usual suspects like the AFL-CIO are on board, the boycott is also receiving heavy promotion from the NFL Players Association, which is a nice PR win. Cleve Jones has also done a ton of groundwork with the LGBT community to get them to see the workers’ struggle as not so distant from their own and to not stay in Hyatt properties.
UNITE-HERE is one of the best unions at organizing, using new media, and creating 21st century unionism. I’d really encourage all readers to join in the boycott. I’ll have more on this later.
Also, you can follow what’s going on with the #hyatthurts hashtag on Twitter.