Unite HERE’s week-long strike at six Hyatt Hotels in Chicago, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Honolulu comes to an end today. The union hopes to pressure the hotel chain into a fair contract following two years of working without one. AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka joined more than 200 picketers at the Hyatt Regency on Wacker Drive this morning to close out the strike.
“Think about this. You are the one’s that shine this hotel and make it shine. You’re the one’s that make the guests comfortable in there so they want to come back. You’re the one’s that make this hotel and Hyatt a success. Without you Hyatt is nothing. Nothing,” said Trumka to an energetic crowd.
Trumka continued, “What do you get in return for it? They make you kneel on your knees shining glass until you have to have an operation. They won’t give you tools like long handled brooms so you don’t have bend over and break your back. They want you to work harder and faster and they don’t want to listen to a word you have to say about how to make this place a bigger success.”
Here's more from Trumka:
Workers continue to fight for a better contract that also addresses working conditions and alleged abuse. Hyatt management maintains they are offering benefits similar to those negotiated in contracts with the Hilton and Starwood Hotels.
"It is very difficult for us religious leaders to understand why the Hyatt will not sign the agreement that Hilton and Starwood have already signed," reflected Rev. C.J. Hawking, executive director of Arise Chicago. "Hyatt knows they have lost public support, based on all of the cancellations reported to us. We're here today to pray that hearts will be softened and minds will be opened and God's justice will prevail for the workers at Hyatt."
Clergy from the Jewish, Christian and Islamic faith traditions joined the strikers in solidarity by holding a prayer service and called upon the Hyatt to promote more ethical treatment of its workers. Striking Hyatt employees were vocal and numerous on the picket line. They held signs, banged drums and chanted slogans expressing their dissatisfaction with the hotel chain.
“The Hyatt ain’t right so we had to strike,” shouted the crowd. Workers pledged to keep up the fight until the hotel franchise succumbs to the union’s demands of fair working conditions and ending the practice of hiring temp workers to undermine union employees’ job security.
A study published in January 2010 concluded Hyatt workers were more likely to be injured on the job than those at any other hotel chain. In 2009, a Boston Hyatt fired 98 housekeepers and replaced them with temporary workers.