“Hyatt systematically abuses housekeepers and other hotel workers, and it is unacceptable in 2012 that women endure debilitating injuries as a result of the work they do cleaning rooms,” said John Wilhelm, the President of UNITE HERE. “We call on Hyatt to end its systematic abuse of housekeepers and adopt the recommendations made by the federal government to reduce the physical strain associated with housekeeping work.”
The boycott has a lot of support from members of communities hurt by Hyatt including faith groups, the NFL Players Association, the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force and the National Organization for Women.
“The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force has long stood with labor, and we do so again today, this time in support of the hard-working housekeepers who have called for a global boycott of Hyatt in response to the company’s low wages and abuse of workers. We stand here because all people deserve the right to find and keep a job in a safe work environment, with a living wage. We stand here because we are workers too.” said Darlene Nipper, Deputy Executive Director, National Gay and Lesbian Task Force.
The boycott has a lot of support for good reason. According to a study published in the American Journal of Industrial Medicine Hyatt housekeepers have higher injury rates than housekeepers at four other chains. At non-union Hyatts, they are forced to clean up to 30 rooms a day, and in 2011 alone, “the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) or its state counterparts issued 18 citations against the Hyatt at 11 hotels and 3 citations against one of the Hyatt’s housekeeping subcontractors at one of those hotels.”
Hyatt workers told their own stories of the stress and difficulty of working at a Hyatt. Claudette Evans says, “Just two weeks ago my co-worker hurt his back at work, putting him on light duty. This means I have to do my work and his because Hyatt does not offer us anymore help. Now, I’m feeling over worked, stressed, and pain.” Hyatt recently introduced heavier beds that are so heavy, according to Angela Martinez, she “can’t lift the mattress because my left arm feels like it’s coming out of the socket. It feels like it is separating.”
Hyatt abuses its workers because they can. Boycotting them lets them know they can’t.
Photo from UggBoy via flickr.