For immediate release
September 8, 2011
Workers Launch Strikes at San Francisco Grand Hyatt and Hyatt Regency
Hyatt workers on strike at 4 additional properties in Chicago, Los Angeles, and Honolulu
San Francisco–700 San Francisco Grand Hyatt and Hyatt Regency workers are joining thousands of Hyatt workers nationwide in launching week-long strikes today. Hyatt has singled itself out as the worst employer in the hotel industry. Hyatt has abused its housekeepers, replacing career housekeepers with minimum wage temporary workers and imposing dangerous workloads on those housekeepers who remain. By striking, workers are demanding the right to help themselves and other Hyatt workers across the United States contend with an abusive employer, intent on destroying decent jobs.
"I have chronic pain in my shoulders and elbows, and I clean just 14 rooms a day. In some cities, Hyatt makes housekeepers clean 30 rooms in one day." says 35-year Grand Hyatt housekeeper Antonia Cortez. "I’m on strike because I want the right to take action for all Hyatt housekeepers, no matter where they work. We all work for the same company. We should all have the right to stand up for each other."
Hyatt workers have called for boycotts at 17 Hyatt properties–including the Grand Hyatt, Hyatt Regency, and non-union Hyatt Fisherman’s Wharf—and have led dozens of public demonstrations all across North America. Already, Hyatt has lost over $20 million in hotel business as a result of the boycott.
Contracts for striking workers in Chicago and San Francisco expired in August 2009, in Los Angeles in November 2009, and in Honolulu in June 2010. Workers in each of these cities have reached agreements with other major hotel employers, like Hilton and Starwood. This week’s strike affects approximately 3,000 unionized hotel workers at six hotel properties across North America, including the largest Hyatt property in the world—the Hyatt Regency Chicago.
Facts on the Strike
- 400 workers from the Hyatt Regency and 300 workers from the Grand Hyatt are on strike today in San Francisco.
- The San Francisco Hyatt workers are members of UNITE HERE Local 2 and work as room cleaners, cooks, servers, bussers, doormen, bellmen, dishwashers, and phone operators.
- About 3000 Hyatt workers are on strike nationwide. The 4 other properties on strike are the Hyatt Regency Waikiki in Honolulu, the Hyatt Regency Chicago and Hyatt Regency McCormick Place in Chicago, and the Andaz West Hollywood in Los Angeles.
- The right to stand in solidarity with other Hyatt workers and fight Hyatt’s abuses. Specifically, Hyatt workers are demanding the ability to picket, strike and boycott in support of other Hyatt workers to organize, get contracts, or protest abuses wherever they may occur.
- Other improvements negotiated with hotels city-wide.
Hyatt’s Abuse of Housekeepers
- Housekeepers at some Hyatts clean as many as 30 rooms a day, nearly double what is typically required at union hotels.
- To date, OSHA or its state counterparts have issued 15 citations against the Hyatt at ten hotels and 3 citations against one of the Hyatt’s housekeeping subcontractors at one of those hotels, alleging violations of safety regulations that protect housekeepers and other employees. The agencies have proposed fines totaling $95,405.00 between Hyatt and its subcontractor.
- In a study published in the American Journal of Industrial Medicine examining a total of 50 hotel properties from 5 different hotel companies, Hyatt housekeepers had the highest injury rate of all housekeepers studied when compared by hotel company.
- This summer, Hyatt took the lead in opposing California Senate Bill 432, a bill that would end "on our knees" bathroom cleaning and backbreaking bed-making practices by requiring that housekeepers be provided with long-handled tools and fitted sheets.
Recent Controversies Showcasing Hyatt Abuse
- In July, Hyatt turned heat lamps on striking workers in Chicago during a brutal heat wave.
- In Boston, Hyatt fired its entire housekeeping staff at three non-union hotels and replaced them with temporary workers making minimum wage.
- In San Francisco, Grand Hyatt dishwasher Victoria Guillen recently revealed Hyatt’s attempt to fire her when she could not return to work three days after a C-section.
- Workers in several cities have asked for a fair process to choose a union. Hyatt has refused.
UNITE HERE represents over 250,000 North American hospitality workers.
UNITE HERE Local 2 represents 12,000 hotel and food service workers in San Francisco and San Mateo counties.
For more information on Local 2, visit www.unitehere2.org.
For updates on the strike, visit www.hotelworkersrising.org