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Home » Actions, News » Hyatt workers end strike, announce escalation of Hyatt boycott

September 15, 2011

Support for Hyatt boycotts gaining momentum with major national and local organizations

Hyatt workers will put down their picket signs and go back to work on Thursday, September 15, but their campaign against Hyatt’s abuse will escalate as workers continue to fight for the right to solidarity.  The strikers announced today that the end of the strike will mean a redoubling of their efforts to enforce customer boycotts of 16 Hyatt hotels across the nation, including the Grand Hyatt Union Square, Hyatt Regency Embarcadero, Hyatt Fisherman’s Wharf, and Hyatt Santa Clara.  The intensifying boycott campaign will involve broad customer outreach and community organizing.

The workers’ announcement came during a rally and march through San Francisco.  Hundreds of strikers, other hotel workers, community allies, labor unions, and religious leaders rallied in Union Square on Wednesday and marched to the Grand Hyatt hotels and on to the Hyatt Regency in a show of support for strikers in San Francisco, Chicago, Honolulu, and Los Angeles.  Workers have been striking in all four cities to demand the right to fight back against Hyatt’s abuses, wherever they may occur.

Hyatt workers’ solidarity campaign has already damaged Hyatt’s reputation and bottom line.  Boycotted Hyatts have lost over $20 million in convention and meeting business.  Some customers have withdrawn their events to support the workers or to avoid the frequent demonstrations, picket lines, strikes, and other actions that occur at boycotted hotels.  Groups who have recently moved from boycotted Hyatt hotels include NEA, the National Education Association, GLAAD, the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation, and MALDEF, the Latino Legal Voice for Civil Rights in America.

Members of the Association of Flight Attendants-CWA refused to cross Hyatt workers’ picket lines during the strike.  The International President of the union, Veda Shook, wrote to Hyatt Regency Chicago’s general manager to inform him of AFA’s decision to honor the boycotts of Hyatt hotels: “We had received a quote for our Association to have our annual meeting in Chicago in February of next year.  However, given the current lack of respect for your workers and the lack of meaningful progress in your contract negotiations, we have made the decision to take our business elsewhere.  Let me be clear:  we were prepared to sign a contract that would have given your property between $150,000 to $200,000.”

Hyatt’s reputation took a severe hit over the summer when management aimed heat lamps at striking workers in Chicago during a brutal heat wave.  The incident exemplified Hyatt’s abusive behavior towards workers and garnered national press coverage.  Other controversies involving Hyatt have included its decision to fire 100 career housekeepers in Boston in a single day and replace them with temporary, minimum-wage subcontractors and Hyatt’s recent citations by OSHA alleging violations of safety regulations that protect housekeepers and other employees.

With workers speaking out about Hyatt’s abuse, conscientious consumers are opting not to patronize the boycotted hotels.  Since this summer, scores of national, regional, and local organizations have pledged to honor the boycotts of Hyatt hotels, including the National Women’s Health Network, Franciscan Action Network, National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum, Sisters of Mercy of the Americas, America’s Voice, and Families USA.  In San Francisco numerous groups, including the Asian Law Caucus, Centro Legal De La Raza, San Francisco Lawyer’s Committee for Civil Rights, and National Network for Immigrant and Refugee Rights, have endorsed the boycott.  Such organizations comprise a growing network of groups nationwide that are uniting to fight back against Hyatt’s abuse.

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