For immediate release
September 21, 2010
Frustration with lack of progress in negotiations prompts call for action by downtown hotel workers
Vancouver, BC – Hyatt hotel workers will hold a press conference this afternoon to announce they are calling for a boycott of their employer, Hyatt Regency Vancouver. Frustration among hotel workers has deepened as the global Hyatt Corporation continues to prosper, while it fails to demonstrate a commitment to providing quality jobs for their hotel workers.
Today’s announcement comes nearly three months after the expiration of workers’ contract on June 30. Hyatt workers will gather in front of the hotel, the site of several large demonstrations in recent months, to make their announcement. The boycott represents the latest escalation in a labour dispute with Hyatt locally and internationally. The Hyatt boycott in Vancouver will join fourteen other active boycotts of Hyatt properties in North America.
“I am calling for a boycott and asking guests not to eat, drink or sleep at the Hyatt. The boycott means that I’m making a sacrifice, since I may lose shifts. I am the main provider for my family since my husband is on medical leave, but I’m doing this for a better future in the long-term,” said Naden Abenes, a room attendant at the Vancouver Hyatt.
Hyatt serves as the starkest example of how global hotel companies prospered even during the recession. In one day, Hyatt Corporation’s owners made $900 million when they took the company public in November 2009. Meanwhile, Hyatt hotel workers have endured reduced hours, understaffing, and heavier workloads, which put workers at higher risk of injury.
To date, Hyatt has refused to negotiate housekeeping workload relief, has failed to offer benefits that enable workers and their families to access year-around medical coverage or to retire with dignity, and has offered only meager wage increases of approximately 1% for each of the next three years.
In contrast, Hyatt Corporation has enjoyed an 18% increase in profits in the first half of 2010, in part due to the Hyatt Regency Vancouver’s strong performance during the Olympics, and has over $1.6 billion in cash and short term investments available. Despite the fact that Hyatt 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 40 represents over 8,000 hospitality and food service workers in British Columbia.