Hyatt Employees, Allies Rally in Los Angeles
July 27, 2012 11:34 am
A group of hundreds of Hyatt employees, Unite Here 11 members and allies and sympathetic protesters rallied outside the Hyatt Century Plaza in Century City and the Hyatt Andaz in West Hollywood yesterday in Los Angeles, marking the the international boycott against the hotel chain.
According to Leigh Shelton, an organizer from Unite Here 11, over 400 people showed up to picket outside the two hotels, marching, chanting and demanding recognition and an answer to the chain’s abysmal treatment of workers. Housekeepers and hotel workers from across the city, members of Clergy and Laity United for Economic Justice (CLUE) and Councilmen Paul Koretz were in attendance at the Century City rally, as well as housekeepers from a Hyatt in Long Beach who are fighting for unionization.
In a short statement, Shelton confirmed that “Thursday’s action at the Hyatt Century Plaza was an exuberant, noisy celebration of the strength of a community, clergy and worker coalition united by the idea that together we can stop the abuse and change Hyatt. Next steps: enforce the Global Boycott & encourage everyone to Vote Hyatt worst!
The protest was a celebration of the launch of the global boycott of Hyatt hotels on Monday. “It’s the first time we’ve escalated the campaign to this level,” Shelton said. “For several years now housekeepers and other workers in Hyatt hotels across the country have been demanding improved working conditions, and particularly when it comes to safety and working conditions of housekeepers, we’ve been for the large part ignored.”
Denise Edwards, a Hyatt employee for 32 years who works as a banquet auditor in accounting in Century City, explained why she was marching: “I’m here today because when our contract expired in 2009, the company put a proposal on the table to eliminate my job — along with two other coworkers — and outsource them to Oklahoma and India. I’m not retirement age so I would either lose my job and get a severance package or I would have to go to another department, and at this age in my life I’m not physically able to do housekeeping or the front desk, because most of the job require some kind of physical labor.”
Edwards noted that workers have an agreement on the table with proposals to receive retroactive pay for the last two years, retroactive payment into the healthcare fund, and “in the event that they do close the hotel down and they lay off the workers that we have a severance package and those people who don’t want to take the package, that they have the right to come back.”
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