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Union Calls for Global Hyatt Boycott
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July 25, 2012

Hotel Worker's Union 'Unite Here' is calling for a global boycott of the Hyatt hotel chain claiming that the company 'systematically abuses housekeepers and other hotel workers.'

Chicago, Illinois - The hotel worker's union "UNITE HERE" launched a new campaign this week calling for a global boycott of the hotel chain Hyatt for its 'abusive and illegal treatment of its workers.'

"Hyatt systematically abuses housekeepers and other hotel workers, and it is unacceptable in 2012 that women endure debilitating injuries as a result of the work they do cleaning rooms," said John Wilhelm, the President of UNITE HERE.

"Hyatt sets a faster pace for work, pushes more dangerous conditions on workers, and tries to replace full time employees with temporary workers earning minimum wage," according to Wilhelm.

This year, Hyatt became the first company in the hotel industry to ever receive a warning letter from the federal government concerning its dangerous working conditions. Hyatt workers called for the boycott as a drastic next step after co-workers at the companyís non-union locations have repeatedly been denied the basic right to form a union through a fair process.

The boycott has alot of support from members of communities hurt by Hyatt including faith groups, the NFL Players Association, the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, and the National Organization for Women.

Terry OíNeill, president of the National Organization for Women, pledged that her organizationís members would do all they could to draw attention to the plight of the housekeeping crews (the majority are women) who toil for bottom-of-the-barrel wages while Hyattís executives earn millions.

NFL Players Association Executive Director DeMaurice Smith pledged support for the boycott citing..."NFL players come from the same type of working class families as Hyattís housekeepers and bellhops. In addition to not spending money at Hyatt properties, the 2,000 members of the NFLPA stand as 'big brothers' with Hyatt workers in their struggle."

Darlene Nipper, Deputy Executive Director of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, added that the LGBT community supports the Hyatt global boycott because it understands what it means to fight for basic rights of fairness and respect.

"We have long stood with labor, and we do so again today, this time in support of the hard-working housekeepers who have called for a global boycott of Hyatt in response to the companyís low wages and abuse of workers. We stand here because all people deserve the right to find and keep a job in a safe work environment, with a living wage. We stand here because we are workers too," she said.

Thatís what this campaign comes down to: dignity and respect. As AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka noted... "you donít get the top-notch world summits and conferences without the hard, physically demanding work of Hyattís workers. As a central part of the companyís success, they deserve a voice on the job to protect themselves from hazardous conditions and unfair treatment."

The boycott has a lot of support for good reason. According to a study published in the American Journal of Industrial Medicine Hyatt housekeepers have higher injury rates than housekeepers at four other chains. At non-union Hyatts, they are forced to clean up to 30 rooms a day, and in 2011 alone, "the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) or its state counterparts issued 18 citations against the Hyatt at 11 hotels and 3 citations against one of the Hyattís housekeeping subcontractors at one of those hotels."

Hyatt workers tell their own stories of the stress and difficulty of working at a Hyatt.

Housekeeper Claudette Evans says, "Just two weeks ago my co-worker hurt his back at work, putting him on light duty. This means I have to do my work and his because Hyatt does not offer us anymore help. Now, Iím feeling over worked, stressed, and pain."

Hyatt recently introduced heavier beds that are so heavy, according to Angela Martinez, she "canít lift the mattress because my left arm feels like itís coming out of the socket. It feels like it is separating."

"Hyatt abuses its workers because they can. Boycotting them lets them know they canít," she said.

Source: American Rights At Work