For Immediate Release
May 2, 2013
President Obama nominates Penny Pritzker to Commerce Secretary
UNITE HERE Calls on Hyatt to Fill Vacancy on Hyatt Board with a Hotel Worker
WASHINGTON, D.C. -- On Thursday President Barack Obama nominated Penny Pritzker to be Commerce Secretary, a role that requires a serious focus on the challenge of helping workers achieve full-time jobs with decent wages and safe working conditions.
It is common for Cabinet Secretaries to step down from their positions at publicly traded companies. If Ms. Pritzker decides to step down from Hyatt's Board of Directors, this will create the first ever vacancy on Hyatt's Board. Hyatt's remaining directors have the opportunity to fill the vacancy with a hotel worker.
Hyatt's corporate governance guidelines call for Directors with "judgment, character, expertise, skills and knowledge useful to the oversight of Hyatt's business' who exemplify a ‘diversity of viewpoints, backgrounds and experiences".
But Hyatt's current directors are mostly white men with a background in private equity, none of whom have direct experience working in a hotel.
"We all have a shared stake in Hyatt's success, but no one who cleans rooms like me has a real say at Hyatt," says Cathy Youngblood, a housekeeper at the Hyatt Andaz in West Hollywood. "By choosing someone like me to be on the board, Hyatt could be a model for corporate America at a time when so many hotel workers feel left behind."
Hyatt has faced harsh criticism for its mistreatment of housekeepers and is the subject of a boycott called by hotel workers and their allies.
"I'm confident that Ms. Pritzker will do her best to help our Country succeed," says Youngblood, "but if Hyatt is going to succeed, they need to change—I believe they need someone like me to help."