Imagine your boss using an app to track your every move while on the job, and then imagine if the avatar chosen to represent you in that app was a dog. Sounds a little creepy and degrading, doesn’t it?
That’s exactly what the Hyatt Andaz Hotel in West Hollywood is accused of in a new compliant filed against the hotel giant. According to the complaint, Hyatt Andaz has illegally implemented a new electronic tracking system that monitors the productivity of its housekeepers. The system consists of a tracking software managed on iPods each of the housekeepers use. It tells the housekeepers exactly which rooms to clean and when. It requires the housekeepers clock when they enter and exit each guest room and is designed to monitor productivity of the workers.
Instead the device can send a housekeeper and her heavy cart all over the hotel. Hotel housekeeping is hard work and federal agencies have identified pushing heavy carts as one of the main sources of strain on the bodies of men and women who clean hotel rooms. This new system only exacerbates this problem.
And to make matters worse, the system, known as “Rex” is animated by a dog wagging its tail. Is this how management at the Hyatt Andaz hotel views its housekeeping staff? “It’s true we run around to get the rooms cleaned in time for guests, but why a dog? We’re not animals. Couldn’t they have used the symbol of a person walking like at traffic corners? That would have been a bit more humane,” said Cathy Youngblood, a Hyatt Andaz housekeeper who testified to the National Labor Relations Board about the tracking technology.
Not all the housekeeping staff at the Hyatt Andaz is female. For the male staff the avatar used is a chili pepper. Seriously.
Despite the fact that the law requires Hyatt negotiate with the housekeeping union before making changes to their jobs, the hotel unilaterally implemented the system on its workers. It’s the latest of a list of insults and injuries to hotel staff and a reflection of the hotel’s de-humanizing view of its workforce. And since a majority of its housekeeping staff is female and Latina, Hyatt clearly believes it can simply flout the law without much, if any consequence. Hopefully the National Labor Relations Board disagrees.
Photo from KB35 via flickr.