Just days before Labor Day, Hyatt workers in several cities across North America are striking, as part of a wave of demonstrations this week by thousands of hotel workers protesting Hyatt (NYSE: H) and its billionaire ownership family, the Pritzkers. Workers say the company is trying to make the recession permanent for its employees, despite significantly improving industry conditions and Hyatt’s increased profitability and huge cash reserves.
Multi-city strikes this week represent a major escalation in a labor dispute involving Hyatt and its billionaire owners—the Pritzker Family—who have been the target of a number of major demonstrations in more than a dozen cities across North America this summer. Hotel workers have endured months of chronic understaffing and excessive injury rates. Now Hyatt wants to take more away and lock workers into recession contracts even as the economy rebounds. While many hotel workers live in poverty, the Pritzker Family cashed out over $900 million in their sale of Hyatt shares in November 2009.
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