Unite Here Local 1 has filed charges against the Chicago Park Hyatt for turning on heat lamps during a hotel strike on a scorching hot summer day.
The charges, filed with the National Labor Relations Board, allege the hotel turned on 10 heat lamps in the awning above the hotel entrance for an hour while workers protested on July 21. That same day the National Weather Service issued heat warnings for the city.
“The employer assaulted the employees and tried to fry them by shining heat lamps on them in the middle of what was already a hot, humid day,” the union said in a statement. Hyatt only turned them off after media reports surfaced about the incident, according to the complaint.
“Many of my coworkers are getting hurt—hurting their wrists or backs lifting heavy mattresses or slipping on wet floors—and Hyatt is ignoring our pain,” said Ofelia Martinez, a housekeeper at the Park Hyatt, in a statement. “Turning the heat lamps on us is just another example of how Hyatt abuses us.”
Hyatt released an apology for the heat lamps later that day, claiming a manager was responsible for the incident.
The strike followed two years of contract negotiations between hotel workers and the hotel chain, as workers claimed Hyatt has not addressed concerns over workload.
Chicago is one of nine cities where Hyatt workers protested regarding labor conditions and stands as the only one still in a hold-out position in negotiations.