For immediate release
January 18, 2011
Hundreds of hotel workers and community allies demonstrate in front of the Grand Hyatt Hotel
Hotel workers take to the streets to defend their Legal Fund from Hyatt hotel management. The Legal Fund protects members from evictions and foreclosures and facilitates legal immigration (citizenship, work permits and family reunification).
Since August 2009, Hyatt hotel management has refused to settle a fair contract with over 800 of its San Francisco hotel workers. Instead, Hyatt management has proposed contracts that would lock hotel workers into a permanent recession and decrease on-the-job worker safety. On top of that, Hyatt management is now trying to prevent workers from legally reuniting with their families and from protecting themselves against evictions and foreclosures.
Hyatt has asked the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) to stop Local 2 from reallocating employer contributions to the hotel workers’ Legal Fund – a fund that helps workers’ families navigate immigration laws, fight foreclosures, and deal with other difficult situations. Local 2 sought to reallocate 2¢ an hour (which was previously going into a workers’ Child/Elder Care fund) in the face of increased government fees for immigration documents, and resulting strain on the Legal Fund’s reserves. Even though this change has no financial impact whatsoever on employers, and even though without this reallocation of funds workers’ might face cuts in legal assistance, Hyatt is trying to block the move in order to put pressure on workers to sign a concessionary contract.
"At the negotiating table, Hyatt is trying to increase our health care costs, freeze our wages, freeze our pensions. At work, Hyatt housekeepers report the highest rates of injury in the country. And now, Hyatt is trying to raid our legal fund," exclaims Aurolyn Rush, a 15 year employee at the Grand Hyatt hotel. "When will their attack on working families, like mine, stop?"
Of all the hotel employers in San Francisco, Hyatt is the only one that has filed NLRB charges, in attempts to cripple the hotel workers’ Legal Fund. The trial at the National Labor Relations Board begins today.
UNITE HERE! Local 2, represents 12,000 hospitality and food service workers in San Francisco and San Mateo counties.