Boston Globe’s Governor Threatens a Hyatt Boycott
for people who think the labor movement is dead, or unions are no longer necessary – blatant workplace violations like this are still happening. 3 Hyatt hotels in the Boston area laid off their entire housekeeping staff, citing challenging economic conditions, and replaced them with workers from an out-of-state firm they would pay much less and provide no benefits for. Originally, the staff trained the new workers under the pretense the new staff were only there to fill in on vacations and holidays. But after the morning shift on August 31, the workers were told not to come back to work the next day. it seems government officials rarely get involved in labor disputes, unless the industry affected directly relates to the operation of the country (ex: Reagan laid off the air-traffic controllers), the fight usually remains between the workers, the union and the company. But Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick has stepped in, strongly denouncing the layoffs and threatening a boycott of the Hyatt Hotels by Massachusetts employees.
the Back & Forth
“I understand first-hand how difficult it is to manage through the current economic challenges without compounding the disruptions the times have caused,’’ Patrick wrote. “But surely there is some way to retain the jobs for your housekeeping staffs, as other hotels have done, and to work with them to help the company meet its current challenges, rather than tossing them out unceremoniously to fend for themselves while the people they trained take their jobs at barely livable wages.’’ – Governor Deval Patrick
The action “directly threatens the 600 associates who work in Hyatt properties and who live and work in Massachusetts at a time when businesses and individuals are cutting back on travel during the worst economic period we have seen in decades. We do not understand why the governor is putting more Massachusetts jobs at risk instead of working with us to find jobs for employees affected by the realities of these unprecedented economic challenges.’’ – Phil Stamm, general manager of Hyatt Regency Boston
The fight is still going- last update I could find, lists the boycott growing with support from taxicab drivers, politicians, businesses leaders, and organizations, like the National Employment Lawyers Associations originally set to hold a conference at a Hyatt, canceling reservations.