For immediate release
September 15, 2010
(203) 461-8530 x.253
$500,000 in business diverted from boycotted properties, workers report
West Hollywood, Calif. – Los Angeles-area Hyatt hotel workers announced today they are calling for a boycott of their employer, and reported that about $500,000 in event business already has been or will be diverted from area Hyatt hotels.
Workers called for boycotts of the Hyatt Andaz West Hollywood, Hyatt Regency Century Plaza and Hyatt Regency Long Beach.
Flanked by supportive clergy and organizations vowing to honor the boycott, workers gathered for the announcement in front of the Hyatt Andaz hotel, a Sunset Strip mainstay that has recently become home to numerous demonstrations, including a one-day strike, a protest with hundreds of demonstrators in July and dozens of picket lines. The boycott represents the latest escalation in a labor dispute with Hyatt locally and nationally.
"As a fine dining server, calling for a boycott of our hotel is not an easy decision, but Hyatt’s actions have left us no choice," said Max Ortiz, a Century Plaza restaurant server of nine years. "Hyatt’s cutbacks and layoffs have forced those of us working to do the job of two or three people, while many of my co-workers cannot make ends meet."
Already, several organizations have pledged to honor the boycott by moving annual events held at one of the boycotted properties. Some organizations have notified Hyatt of plans to cancel.
"For 30 years, Liberty Hill has stood with service workers who are on the frontlines fighting for good jobs and respectable wages," said Darrell Tucci, chief development officer of the Liberty Hill Foundation, which holds its annual awards dinner at the Hyatt Century Plaza. "We will continue to support men and women as they insist on fair pay for a hard day’s work. This is why we are leaving the Hyatt and putting our event at a venue that compensates its employees fairly."
Today’s announcement comes nine months after union contracts with the Hyatt Century Plaza and Andaz expired. Hyatt workers in Long Beach have called for the right to organize a union through a fair process. The three LA-area boycotts, which join 10 other active boycotts of Hyatt properties nationwide, signal a growing crisis for the Hyatt chain and its billionaire owners—the Pritzker Family—who have become a symbol among hotel workers for how the wealthy are trying to take unfair advantage of the recession. Across the country, Hyatt hotel workers have endured staff cuts, reduced hours, and excessive injury rates. Frustration among area workers has deepened, as Hyatt has tried to make further job cuts and lock workers into recession contracts even as the economy rebounds.
Rev. Jerry Stinson, pastor at the First Congregational Church of Long Beach, pledged to honor the three Hyatt boycotts, and noted specific concerns he has for the non-union workers in Long Beach.
"I am deeply concerned about what Hyatt is doing to workers in Long Beach, where they do not have a voice on the job," Stinson said. "Workers face dangerously high workloads, low wages and unaffordable healthcare, while Hyatt owners and executives prosper. It’s time for the Hyatt to listen to the workers and start treating them with respect."