Thursday, July 21, 2011

Hotel workers strike at the Park Hyatt Chicago

From Unite Here Local 1:

After nearly two years of negotiations, more Hyatt workers in downtown Chicago are going on strike. Hyatt, a company with more cash on hand than most of its major competitors combined, wants to outsource work and impose dangerous working conditions on housekeepers. Now housekeepers and other hotel workers are standing up and speaking out. Thursday’s action at the Park Hyatt coincides with housekeeper protests of Hyatt in nine cities across the U.S.

Hotel housekeepers are the invisible backbone of the hotel industry. The grittier aspects of their jobs—the work of scrubbing toilets, changing sheets, and encountering guests alone behind closed doors—are the hidden foundation on which an atmosphere of luxury and comfort are built. Through UNITE HERE, the union representing hotel and other hospitality workers across North America, housekeepers are stepping forward and breaking the silence on the many dangers they face at work.

Nationwide, Hyatt has caused controversy for its abuse of housekeepers and for replacing long-term employees with workers from temporary agencies at far lower rates of pay. Thursday’s actions represent the latest escalation of the labor dispute with Hyatt. Just last month on June 20, 2011, Hyatt Regency Chicago workers went on strike. Similar actions were carried out last year, when last September Hyatt O’Hare workers carried out a day-long strike and last May when hundreds of housekeepers walked off the job, in protest of worsening working conditions in housekeeping.

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