For immediate release
November 18, 2010
Hyatt Regency calls police on women wishing to help housekeepers clean rooms
Responding to injury reports, community says, "If Hyatt won't ease their housekeepers' burden, we will!"
Indianapolis – A group of 20 community supporters, composed primarily of female religious and civic leaders looking to lend a hand and help improve the quality of Hyatt Regency housekeepers’ working conditions, rolled up their sleeves on Thursday and entered the Hyatt Regency Indianapolis with the aim to help the housekeepers clean their rooms. The group peacefully approached the front desk and was immediately ordered by the director of security to leave while he summoned the police.
Reverend Rebecca Craver, pastor of Zacchaeus’ Tree Congregation, lead the delegation. "I have been fortunate to meet with workers who serve our city and the Hyatt in various capacities and have heard stories that pain my heart and outrage my sense of justice," says Craver. "Housekeepers, many enduring physical ailments and chronic pain, should not be so worn out from being overworked that they are unable to care for their families. I believe there is inherent dignity and value in people and their work."
At the Hyatt Regency Indianapolis, room attendants are required to clean as many as 30 rooms a day, nearly double what is commonly considered standard in the industry. Speeding up work by raising the room quota or adding room amenities can strain the body and lead to more accidents, like slipping on wet bathroom floors or tripping over furniture. Jackie White had cleaned rooms at the Hyatt for 23 years before moving to Guest Requests because the work had become too strenuous. “I believe there should be a limit on how many rooms a housekeeper could have on a regular list. Overburdening the room cleaner ensures a lack of proper cleaning and increased injuries," White says. She believes the Hyatt Refresh Program contributes to the increased room quotas and the acceleration of work.
This community delegation comes just one week after White filed a complaint with OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) about a work-related injury she sustained while rushing to finish her work assignment. "Personally, I have had more injuries this year than I have had during the past 29 years at the hotel because the job has become too much and too fast paced," states White. This local complaint was part of a landmark OSHA filing where women from 12 Hyatts nation-wide submitted one of the largest private-sector OSHA filings in history. The goal of the filings is to have OSHA investigate and possibly create new regulations where housekeeping work is concerned.
A major peer-reviewed study of hotel worker injuries at 50 U.S. hotels operated by the five largest U.S. hotel companies was published in the American Journal of Industrial Medicine (AJIM) earlier this year. By company, housekeepers working at Hyatt hotels in the AJIM study had the highest injury rate of those hotels studied.