August 30, 2012
Next month, when the Online News Association holds its annual conference at the Hyatt Regency Embarcadero in San Francisco, you will be asked to cross a union picket line erected by the people who work in the hotel – the housekeepers, bartenders, cooks, desk clerks and the others who make the hotel run. Hyatt workers have been joined by the AFL-CIO, the National Organization of Women, the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, the NFL Players Association, Netroots Nation, and thousands of other organizations and individuals in calling for a Global Boycott of Hyatt Hotels. The Hyatt Regency San Francisco had been under a worker-called boycott since June 2010, and the organizers of the ONA conference have been aware of the boycott since early this year.
Hyatt has singled itself out as the worst hotel employer in America. Hyatt has abused housekeepers and other hotel workers, replacing longtime employees with minimum wage temporary workers and imposing dangerous workloads on those who remain. Housekeepers, who are almost all immigrant women of color, are particularly impacted by Hyatt’s mistreatment.
The Online News Association is asking you to interact with Hyatt as consumers and to look away when the workers ask you to examine the reality of their situation. As journalists and working people yourselves, we appeal to you to take a closer look.
This boycott is about workers like Martha Reyes, a housekeeper who was fired after objecting to demeaning, fake photos of housekeepers in bikinis that were posted in a Hyatt break room. Workers like , a housekeeper at the Hyatt Regency Boston for over 25 years who was fired, along with 97 other long-time Hyatt employees, and replaced by temporary workers earning minimum wage with no benefits. Workers like Nila Arago, a linen attendant at the Hyatt Regency in San Francisco for 32 years who can no longer walk without pain.
The leadership of the Online News Association has looked away from these women and the thousands of other Hyatt workers who are organizing for justice. In so doing, ONA has put you in the position of having to choose whether to cross a picket line or attend their conference. But it is not too late. We urge you to call ONA Executive Director Jane McDonnell at or email her at and demand that ONA move this conference to a non-boycotted, neutral location.
To join the thousands who have pledged to honor the global boycott of Hyatt, sign the pledge here.