Hyatt Hotel Workers Strike for Contract Negotiations

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Workers protested Thursday morning outside of Park Hyatt Chicago, saying the hotel won't concede on subcontracting jobs. The protest coincides with housekeeper protests at Hyatt hotels in nine U.S. cities. (Published Thursday, Jul 21, 2011)

    After nearly two years of off and on negotiations between Hyatt Hotels Corporation and its Chicago employees, workers went on strike Thursday morning at the Park Hyatt to protest the existing labor conditions of the housekeeping staff.

    The Chicago strike coincided with nine other cities holding similar strikes with Hyatt Hotels, but Chicago remains as the last city in a hold-out position with the international hotel chain.  

    Unite Here is the union representing Hyatt employees across the country.  According to a statement issued by Hyatt, the company called the strike in Chicago "more of the same from Unite Here" and claimed it "continues to put its energies toward unproductive street theatrics in the name of 'solidarity'," reports the Chicago Tribune.

    Unite Here representatives at the strike say that while some things Hyatt has offered their full-time employees are sufficient, other issues, such as subcontracting, diminish job security and morale.

    A press release issued by Unite Here states that Hyatt has caused controversy for the abuse of housekeepers and for replacing long-term employees with workers from temporary agencies at far lower rates of pay.

    "We're still negotiating. We've been out of contract with them for two years," said Hyatt employee Gabriel Carrasquillo. "They've conceded on some points, but the one big point that they haven't conceded on is subcontracting, basically using outside work to do our jobs. That translates to job security. Yeah, they're telling us that they're meeting our needs in healthy insurance and salary, but if we don't have a job, then it doesn't matter how much they pay."

    In an informational Hyatt YouTube video released in late December, the company addressed their Chicago employees with a plea to pressure the union into accepting their existing offer. The video speaks of the $1,000 bonuses that were rejected by the Union in December, as well as their offer of six percent wages increases, full-time basic wage benefits valued at $50,000 a year, legal assistance and a 100 percent employee funded pension.

    Other benefits include paid holidays, sick days and vacations, in addition to 12 free hotel stays at Hyatt hotels in the U.S. or Caribbean.

    "Instead of fighting for you, we believe they are using you as bargaining chips in a national agenda that has nothing to do with you or us or Chicago," states the video. "Enough is enough. While we do respect their rights, we're sick and tired of scare tactics and misinformation."

    Chicago Hyatt: Facts About Negotiations between Hyatt Hotels in Chicago and Unite-Here.