For immediate release
October 2, 2010
Hotel workers threaten boycott at Hyatt Regency Toronto
Major hotel customer urges hotel to settle with union
Toronto, ON–Hyatt hotel workers are frustrated that, while the global Hyatt Hotels Corporation continues to prosper, the company fails to demonstrate a commitment to providing quality jobs for their hotel workers.
This is why Hyatt workers have the support of CUPE Ontario, a 200,000-member labour union and frequent customer of the hotel. CUPE Ontario leaders have pledged to take their future business elsewhere unless the hotel settles a fair contract with its workers. Housekeepers, servers, bartenders, cooks, all members of UNITE HERE Local 75, have been without a contract at the Hyatt Regency since February 2010.
CUPE leaders will join Hyatt workers at the hotel, the site of two recent one-day strikes, to show their support to hotel workers. The potential of a Hyatt boycott represents the latest escalation in a labour dispute with Hyatt locally and internationally. It would be the sixteenth active boycott of Hyatt properties in North America.
"We are fully prepared to withdraw future business from the Hyatt Regency if the hotel does not settle a fair contract with its workers," Fred Hahn, President of CUPE Ontario.
Hyatt serves as the starkest example of how global hotel companies prospered even during the recession. When Hyatt Corporation went public in November 2009 the American owners raised $900 (US). Meanwhile, Hyatt hotel workers have endured reduced hours, understaffing, and heavier workloads, which put workers at higher risk of injury.
"Many of us suffer from carpel tunnel syndrome. The Hyatt Hotels Corporation is not doing enough to protect workers from injuring ourselves," said Althea Porter-Harvey, a Room Attendant for 17 years at the Hyatt Regency Toronto on King. "Hyatt’s actions are pushing me and my co-workers to consider calling a boycott. Even if it could mean losing shifts in the short-term, we may be forced to ask customers to stay away from this hotel, until we get what we deserve."
To date, Hyatt has refused to negotiate housekeeping workload relief, has failed to offer job security protections, and has offered only meager wage increases of 7% over the next five years.
In contrast, Hyatt Hotels Corporation has enjoyed an 18% increase in profits in the first half of 2010 and has over $1.6 billion in cash and short-term investments available. Despite the fact that Hyatt Hotels Corporation, and the hotel industry overall, is quickly rebounding from last year’s recession, outpacing even analysts’ expectations, Hyatt wants to lock workers into a long-term recessionary contract.
UNITE HERE Local 75 represents over 7,000 hospitality and food service workers in the GTA.