... Protect Yourself with this Contract Clause!*
New England Jewish Labor Committee activists at a 200-person-strong rally in July 2012 at the Hyatt Regency Downtown (l-r: Sandra Korn, Dave Borrus. Martha Plotkin, Amy Mazur, Roberta Bauer, Marya Axner, Jim Marshall, Dick Bauer, Stephanie Ainbinder, and Glen Dansker)
(August 23, 2013) - In 2009, we learned that nearly 100 hotel workers at three Boston-area Hyatt properties were fired, only to be replaced by other housekeepers, who were paid less money, and whom the fired workers had actually trained in their work. Since then, we have been involved in support of not only the Boston-area Hyatt hotel workers who lost their jobs, but hotel workers in Hyatt properties across North America who have been working to secure decent working conditions and a measure of dignity on the job.
Based on our understanding of Jewish tradition that teaches us to be in solidarity with workers and not to profit from the products of exploited labor, the Jewish Labor Committee pledged not to hold events at Hyatt hotels where there are labor disputes. And when in July 2012 the hotel workers at Hyatt hotels across North America called for a global boycott of the overwhelming majority of these hotels, we not only joined in support of the boycott, but encouraged others to do so.
One year later, earlier this month, we were more than happy to learn news of an important development in the ongoing campaign to secure better working conditions for the hotel workers employed by the Hyatt Hotels Corporation. UNITE HERE, the union representing workers in the hospitality sector across North America, reached an agreement with Hyatt. The agreement, which will go into effect upon ratification of Hyatt union contracts in San Francisco, Hawaii, Chicago, and Los Angeles, sets forth a clear process for Hyatt workers at a number of hotels to secure union representation through a fair, mutually acceptable process, and creates a framework for an ongoing relationship between the union and the management of Hyatt. The contracts in the cities listed above would be inline with city standards in the industry, and include substantial wage increases, quality health and pension benefits, and job security. As part of the accord, upon ratification of the union contracts, UNITE HERE will end its global boycott of Hyatt.
It is clear, however, that this development would not have taken place without the steadfastness of these hotel workers, the concerted hard work of the labor movement, and the support of many in the community at large.
Many of you refused to book your events at Hyatt hotels. However, some of you could not because you had booked your event before the boycott was called and you would have suffered considerable financial penalties by canceling. It is typical to arrange hotel accommodations well in advance of events, and in the interim, a labor dispute could arise which may put you in the unfortunate position of crossing a picket line or incurring significant financial penalties.
*There are ways to avoid this situation. Continue reading to see this Contract Clause.
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