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(Chicago, IL)--After 20 months of negotiations, housekeepers, dishwashers, bellmen and other hotel workers are going on strike at the Hyatt Regency Chicago, the largest Hyatt property in the world. Hyatt, a company run by billionaires, wants to outsource work and impose dangerous working conditions on housekeepers. Workers also say they want to be able to show solidarity with Hyatt workers elsewhere. Under Hyatt's current terms, they would be forced to waive their right to do so.

Hundreds of religious leaders affiliated with Interfaith Worker Justice will be joining workers on the picket lines today. Rabbis and other religious leaders have played a key role nationally in building support for Hyatt workers across North America. Most notably in Chicago, religious leaders have led delegations to top Hyatt executives at Hyatt Global Headquarters in December 2009 and at Hyatt's first annual shareholders meeting in Chicago in June 2010.


Nationwide, Hyatt has sparked controversy for its abuse of housekeepers and for replacing long-term employees with workers from temporary agencies at far lower rates of pay. As a result, Hyatt has faced numerous strikes and dozens of demonstrations nationally in recent years.

"Our bodies hurt, but Hyatt is ignoring us. We will no longer suffer in silence," says Cecilia Leiva, a housekeeper at the Hyatt Regency Chicago.

Academic studies have shown housekeeping to be dangerous work that can lead to debilitating injuries. A landmark study of 50 hotels published in the American Journal of Industrial Medicine in 2010 found that housekeepers working at Hyatt hotels had the highest rate of injury for housekeepers among the five major hotel companies included in the study.

"Hyatt is one of the most abusive hotels in their treatment of housekeepers and has the worst record on subcontracting," says Henry Tamarin, the President of UNITE HERE Local 1. "They refuse to budge on these important issues, and now workers have hit a boiling point."

Nationwide, the hotel industry is rebounding faster and stronger than expected, with a hearty rebound projected in 2011 and 2012. Hyatt has more cash on hand than most of the major hotel operators combined, and yet across North America Hyatt continues to lock workers into poverty.

UNITE HERE Local 1 represents over 700 workers at the Hyatt Regency, the 2019-room hotel on Wacker Drive in downtown Chicago. Contracts for Hyatt workers expired on August 31, 2009. In May 2010, Hyatt Regency workers—led by more than 100 housekeepers—walked off the job, protesting worsening working conditions in housekeeping after a major hotel renovation. In September 2010, workers at the Hyatt Regency O'Hare in Rosemont, Ill. carried out a one-day strike. The strike will last from 4:00am-8:00pm Monday.

Unionized Hyatt Regency Chicago Workers Spend Day On Strike
Union workers at Chicago's Hyatt Regency launched a one-day strike Monday at the 151 E. Wacker Drive location as they called for better working conditions and a better sense of job security.

“Hyatt is one of the most abusive hotels in their treatment of housekeepers and has the worst record on subcontracting,” added Henry Tamarin, Local 1's president in a news release. “They refuse to budge on these important issues, and now workers have hit a boiling point.”

Last Tuesday, several thousand protesters showed up to a rally protesting bank bailouts and tax cuts for the wealthy in a rally sponsored by Stand Up! Chicago at the same location. The Hyatt Regency was host to the Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce's annual Chicago Executive Summit. Twenty-four individuals were arrested during that protest while, at press time, no arrests have been reported from the Unite Here Local 1 strike.

Hyatt Regency Chicago workers stage one-day strike
“The two big things that we’re stuck on right now are subcontracting and working conditions for housekeepers, which has been a major concern” and source of controversy, particularly at Hyatt hotels across the country, said Annemarie Strassel, a spokeswoman for Unite here Local 1.

The union says academic studies have shown housekeeping to be dangerous work that can lead to debilitating injuries.

Local 1 has addressed subcontracting concerns at other Chicago area unionized hotels, Strassel said. The union ratified contracts this year covering workers at Hilton Worldwide and Starwood Hotels & Resorts.

Unite Here Local 1 represents about 1,800 Hyatt workers in the Chicago area.

Hyatt Workers Strike for Pay, Benefits

"We're striking to get a better contract. We're sick and tired of all the disrespect we're getting from the Hyatt hotels. We want some more respect," said Roberto Lopez, who worked at the Hyatt for 28 years. "We want to get better benefits. We're tired of the way they're treating us."

Unite Here is expecting hundreds of religious leaders to join its members on the picket line this afternoon.

Hyatt Regency union holds one-day strike
The one-day strike at the Hyatt Regency follows a series of other actions against the company over the past year, including a walkout at the Hyatt Regency O'Hare and picketing outside Hyatt's annual meetings.

“This strike, which negatively impacts our associates, is just another tactic in the union's anti-Hyatt campaign, designed to grow the union's membership and dues at the expense of the local members they claim to represent,” the Hyatt Regency says in a statement.

The statement says that Hyatt filed an unfair labor practice charge last month alleging that Local 1 was stalling contract negotiations. The company's most recent contract proposal doesn't demand any employee concessions and matches pay and benefit levels Local 1 agreed to with the other hotel chains, the statement says.

VIDEO CLTV: Workers at Hyatt Regency Chicago stage 1 day strike

VIDEO NBC: Hyatt Workers Strike for Pay, Benefits

Originally posted to Hyde Park Johnny on Mon Jun 20, 2011 at 08:22 PM PDT.

Also republished by In Support of Labor and Unions and Community Spotlight.

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Comment Preferences

    •  The treatment of people in these jobs (5+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      chimpy, 4Freedom, Matt Z, Amber6541, flitedocnm

      really angers me. They perform grueling work that makes the lives of others easier and the dicks that profit off them want them to make less than subsistence wages. I wish the executives of these corporations could be forced to work these jobs, even for just a week. They'd be crying like little babies. They don't even KNOW what work is, yet so many of them sit up in their fancy offices passing judgment on what others are or aren't willing to do for a paycheck.

      Jennifer Brunner for Governor of Ohio 2014

      by anastasia p on Fri Jun 24, 2011 at 12:50:58 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I have worked in hotels (7+ / 0-)

    and for a while shadowed housekeepers to learn the ropes of the department.

    I consider myself to be fairly physically able but there is no way that I could do the work that they do. Not to mention for what they are paid.

    Thanks for the update

    "when the going gets weird, the weird turn pro"

    by gravlax on Mon Jun 20, 2011 at 08:28:29 PM PDT

  •  Awesome. (7+ / 0-)

    Power to the people.

    We have just enough religion to make us hate, but not enough to make us love one another. -- Jonathan Swift

    by raptavio on Mon Jun 20, 2011 at 08:32:19 PM PDT

    Recommended by:
    Lightbulb, Larsstephens

    while traveling. I will not stay at a Hyatt Regency or its affiliates. Just let me know which ones, if any care about their workers.

    E.McCarthy:"Republicans feed the sparrows by first feeding the horses".

    by CarmanK on Tue Jun 21, 2011 at 12:35:04 AM PDT

    •  Union Hotel Guide (5+ / 0-)

      Union Hotel Guide

      Use this guide to find a union hotel where UNITE HERE members are employed. You'll be supporting good union jobs, and will find a friendly face to greet you on your journey. Click here to find out what hotels to avoid on our boycott list.

      On Strike

      Congress Plaza Hotel - ON STRIKE
      520 S. Michigan
      Chicago, IL 60605
      Phone: 312-212-8192

      Boycott These Properties

      Anchorage Hilton
      500 West Third Avenue
      Anchorage, AK 99501
      Phone: 907-272-7411

      Andaz West Hollywood
      8401 Sunset Blvd.
      West Hollywood, CA 90069
      Phone: 323 656 1234

      Cosmopolitan Hotel & Restaurant
      2660 Calhoun Street
      San Diego, CA 92110
      Phone: 619-297-1874

      Crowne Plaza LaGuardia
      104-04 Ditmars Blvd
      East Elmhurst, NY 11369
      Phone: 718-457-6300

      Donovan House
      1155 14th St NW
      Washington, DC 20005
      Phone: 1-202-7371200

      Embassy Suites Hotel Irvine
      2120 Main St.
      Irvine, CA 92614

      Four Points by Sheraton Manhattan Chelsea Hotel
      160 W 25th St.
      New York, NY 10001
      Phone: 212-627-1888

      Grand Hyatt San Francisco
      345 Stockton Street
      San Francisco, CA 94108
      Phone: 415-398-1234

      Handlery Hotel and Resort
      950 Hotel Circle North
      San Diego, CA 92108
      Phone: 1-800-843-4343

      Hilton Crystal City At National Airport
      2399 Jefferson Davis Highway
      Arlington, VA 22202
      Phone: (703) 418-6800

      Hilton Long Beach
      701 W. Ocean Bl.
      Long Beach, CA 90831
      Phone: 562.983.3400

      Hilton Sacramento Arden West
      2200 Harvard St.
      Sacramento, CA 95815
      Phone: 916-922-4700

      Hotel Frank
      386 Geary Street
      San Francisco, CA 94102
      Phone: 415-986-2000

      Hyatt Fisherman's Wharf
      555 North Point Street
      San Francisco, CA 94133
      Phone: 415 563 1234

      Hyatt Harborside at Logan International Airport
      101 Harborside Dr
      Boston, MA 02128
      Phone: 617 568 1234

      Hyatt Regency Boston
      1 Avenue De Lafayette
      Boston, MA 02111
      Phone: 617 912 1234

      Hyatt Regency Cambridge, Overlooking Boston
      575 Memorial Dr
      Cambridge, MA 02139
      Phone: 617 492 1234

      Hyatt Regency Century Plaza
      2025 Avenue of the Stars
      Los Angeles, CA 90067
      Phone: 310 228 1234

      Hyatt Regency Chicago
      151 E. Wacker
      Chicago, IL 60601
      Phone: 312 565 1234

      Hyatt Regency Indianapolis
      One South Capitol Ave/Parcel address is 155 West W
      Indianapolis, IN 46204
      Phone: 317 632 1234

      Hyatt Regency Long Beach
      200 S. Pine Ave.
      Long Beach, CA 90802
      Phone: 562.491.1234

      Hyatt Regency O'Hare
      9300 W. Bryn Mawr
      Rosemont, IL 60018
      Phone: 847 696 1234

      Hyatt Regency on King
      370 King St. West
      Toronto, ON M5V 1J9
      Phone: (416) 599-4000

      Hyatt Regency Sacramento
      1209 L St.
      Sacramento, CA 95814
      Phone: 916 443 1234

      Hyatt Regency San Francisco
      5 Embarcadero Center
      San Francisco, CA 94111
      Phone: 415-788-1234

      Hyatt Regency Santa Clara
      5101 Great America Parkway
      Santa Clara, CA 95054
      Phone: 408 200 1234

      Hyatt Regency Waikiki
      2424 Kalakaua Ave.
      Honolulu, HI 96815
      Phone: 808 923 1234

      Kyoto Grand Hotel and Gardens
      120 South Los Angeles St.
      Los Angeles, CA 90012
      Phone: 213-629-1200

      Le Meridien San Francisco
      333 Battery Street
      San Francisco, CA 94111
      Phone: 415-392-1234

      Los Angeles Airport Hilton and Towers
      5711 W. Century Blvd.
      Los Angeles, CA 90045
      Phone: (310) 410-6199

      Manchester Grand Hyatt San Diego
      One Market Place
      San Diego, CA 92101
      Phone: 619 232 1234

      Mandarin Oriental Boston
      800 Boylston Street
      Boston, MA

      Monterey Bay Travelodge (Fairgrounds)
      2030 N. Fremont
      Monterey, CA 93940
      Phone: (831) 373-3381

      Park Hyatt Chicago
      800 North Michigan Avenue
      Chicago, IL 60611
      Phone: 312 335 1234

      Red Lion Hotel Concord (formerly Concord Holiday Inn)
      1050 Burnett Avenue
      Concord, CA 94520
      Phone: 1-925-6875500

      Sheraton Anchorage
      401 E. Sixth Ave.
      Anchorage, AK 99501
      Phone: 907-276-8700

      Sheraton Baltimore City Center Hotel
      101 West Fayette St
      Baltimore, MD 21201
      Phone: 410-752-1100

      Sheraton Crystal City
      1800 Jefferson Davis Highway
      Arlington, VA 22202
      Phone: 703-486-1111

      Town and Country Resort & Convention Center
      500 Hotel Circle North San Diego
      San Diego, CA 92108

      Westin Chicago Northwest
      400 Park Blvd
      Itasca, IL 60143
      Phone: 630-773-4000

      Westin San Diego at Emerald Plaza
      400 West Broadway
      San Diego, CA 92101
      Phone: (619) 239-4500

      Westin Washington DC City Center
      1400 M St NW
      Washington, DC 20005

      Wilshire Plaza
      3515 Wilshire Blvd.
      Los Angeles, CA 90010
      Phone: (213) 381-7411

      Wyndham Suites Chicago
      633 N. St Clair
      Chicago, IL 60611
      Risk of Dispute

      Blackstone Renaissance
      636 S. Michigan Ave
      Chicago, IL 60605
      Phone: 312-447-0955

      Carmel Mission Inn
      3665 Rio Rd
      Carmel, CA 93923
      Phone: (831) 624-1841

      Clift Hotel
      495 Geary Street
      San Francisco, CA 94102
      Phone: 415-775-4700

      Courtyard San Francisco Downtown
      299 Second Street
      San Francisco, CA 94105
      Phone: 415-947-0700

      Delta Toronto Airport West
      5444 Dixie Road
      Mississauga, ON L4W 2L2
      Phone: (905) 624-1144

      Delta Toronto East
      2035 Kennedy Road
      Toronto, ON M1T 3G2
      Phone: (416) 299-1500

      Essex Inn
      800 S. Michigan
      Chicago, IL 60605
      Phone: (312) 939-2800

      Four Seasons San Francisco
      757 Market Street
      San Francisco, CA 94103
      Phone: (415) 633-3000

      Hilton Fisherman's Wharf
      2620 Jones Street
      San Francisco, CA 94133
      Phone: (415) 885-4700

      Hilton San Francisco Financial District
      750 Kearny Street
      San Francisco, CA 94108
      Phone: 415-433-6600

      Holiday Inn Express North York/Norfinch
      30 Norfinch Dr.
      Toronto, ON M3N 1X1
      Phone: (416) 655-3500

      Holiday Inn Express Toronto (Lombard)
      111 Lombard St.
      Toronto, ON M9C 2T9
      Phone: (416) 367-5555

      Holiday Inn Express Toronto East (Scarborough)
      50 Estate Dr.
      Toronto, ON M1H 2Z1
      Phone: (416) 439-9666

      Holiday Inn Golden Gateway
      1500 Van Ness Avenue
      San Francisco, CA 94109
      Phone: 415-441-4000

      Holiday Inn on Bloor
      280 Bloor St
      Toronto, ON M5S 1V8
      Phone: (416) 968-0010

      Holiday Inn Toronto Airport East
      600 Dixon Rd.
      Toronto, ON M9W 1J1
      Phone: (416) 240-7511

      Hotel Kabuki
      1625 Post Street
      San Francisco, CA 94115
      Phone: 415.413.4709

      Hotel Vitale
      8 Mission Street
      San Francisco, CA 94105
      Phone: 415.413.4716

      Huntington Hotel & Nob Hill Spa
      1075 California Street
      San Francisco, CA 94108
      Phone: (415) 474-5400

      Hyatt Regency McCormick Place
      2233 S. MLK Blvd
      Chicago, IL 60616-9985
      Phone: 312 567 1234

      Hyatt Rosemont
      6350 N. River Rd.
      Rosemont, IL 60018
      Phone: 847 518 1234

      Inn of Chicago
      162 E. Ohio
      Chicago, IL 60611
      Phone: (312) 787-3100

      Kona Kai Resort and Spa
      1551 Shelter Island Dr
      San Diego, CA 92106
      Phone: (619) 222-1191

      Marriott Fisherman's Wharf
      1250 Columbus Avenue
      San Francisco, CA 94133
      Phone: (415) 775-7555

      Novotel Toronto Centre
      45 The Esplanade
      Toronto, ON M5E 1W2
      Phone: (416) 367-8900

      Omni San Francisco Hotel
      500 California Street
      San Francisco, CA 94104
      Phone: 415-677-9494

      Parc 55 Hotel
      55 Cyril Magnin Street
      San Francisco, CA 94102
      Phone: 800-595-0507

      Radisson Fisherman's Wharf Hotel
      250 Beach Street
      San Francisco, CA 94133
      Phone: (415) 392-6700

      Radisson Suite Hotel Toronto Airport
      640 Dixon Rd
      Toronto, ON M9W 1J1
      Phone: (416) 242-9888

      Renaissance Stanford Court
      905 California Street
      San Francisco, CA 94108
      Phone: 415-989-3500

      San Francisco Marriott Marquis
      55 Fourth Street
      San Francisco, CA 94103
      Phone: 415-896-1600

      Sheraton at Fisherman's Wharf
      2500 Mason Street
      San Francisco, CA 94133
      Phone: 415-362-5500

      Sir Francis Drake
      450 Powell Street
      San Francisco, CA 94102
      Phone: 800-795-7129

      The Sofia (formerly Pickwick Hotel)
      132 W Broadway
      San Diego, CA 92101
      Phone: (619) 234-9200

      Westin Market Street
      50 Third Street
      San Francisco, CA 94103
      Phone: 415-974-6400

      Westin Prince
      900 York Mills Rd.
      Toronto, ON M3B 3H2
      Phone: (416) 444-2511

  •  great diary (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Lightbulb, Larsstephens, David Kaib

    on a super-important issue. good stuff.

  •  my daughter's worked for Unite Here in College (0+ / 0-)

    In honor of the striking workers..

    This is what it is going to take(strikes)

  •  have a reservation at the other (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    elfling, 4Freedom

    hotel in Chicago in October. (there is more than one)

    Called the hotel and told staff I don't like staying at hotels dealing with union issues and to settle.  And to pass it on the manager.

    The operator said she will.

    "The only person sure of himself is the man who wishes to leave things as they are, and he dreams of an impossibility" -George M. Wrong.

    by statsone on Fri Jun 24, 2011 at 01:45:31 PM PDT

    •  Agreed - no more Hyatt until working conditions (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      improve. I'm going to let Hyatt know that they will be missing business travel from three companies as a result of their poor labor practices.

      United we stand.

      It is no longer good enough to cry peace. We must act peace, live peace, and march in peace in alliance with the people of the world. Chief Shenandoah, Six Nations Iroquois Confederacy

      by 4Freedom on Fri Jun 24, 2011 at 03:20:52 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Earlier this past decade ..... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    ..... I recall Hyatt Hotels as being on the old, defunct Buy Blue website as a "Blue" company.

           I wonder what happened in the interim - was there some sort of new management?

    "We should pay attention to that man behind the curtain."

    by Ed Tracey on Fri Jun 24, 2011 at 04:27:33 PM PDT

  •  Thanks HPJohnny: it is real courage to strike, (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    and I am hoping that their moxy goes viral. I appreciate your reporting on this significant bit of news.

  •  i know one of the organizers (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    for Unite Here that works in Seattle.  

    Watch for more strikes to come....contracts negotiations are coming up and it is expected that they will not go well and there will probably be more strikes.

    I'd rather die than give you control ~ Trent Reznor

    by JustJennifer on Fri Jun 24, 2011 at 07:25:23 PM PDT

  •  This country needs a lot more (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ChicDemago, Amber6541

    strikes right now.  We really need state government workers to strike and bring the Republicrat states to a halt.  The right of workers to organize is in serious danger.

    Still enjoying my stimulus package.

    by Kevvboy on Fri Jun 24, 2011 at 08:24:14 PM PDT

  •  Unlike Corporate Executives who go to (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    the Hyatt Hotels, I have to pay my own travel expenses. So I choose to stay in places like Ramada or Best Western.

    But, even if I could afford to pay the kind of rates that Hyatt charges, I'd avoid them given how they treat their workers.

    Honesty pays, but it doesn't seem to pay enough to suit some people. Kin Hubbard

    by Mr Robert on Fri Jun 24, 2011 at 08:29:45 PM PDT

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