Victory for the "Hyatt 100" - $1 million to the fired housekeepers and ...!
October 8, 2014 - Five years ago, three Hyatt Hotels in the Boston area abruptly fired 98 housekeepers. The hotels brought in replacement workers, paying them roughly half the hourly wage. The fired housekeepers had been told to train these new housekeepers who turned out to be their replacements.
The fired workers didn't belong to a union, but they quickly approached a local of UNITE-HERE. A nationwide boycott of Hyatt hotels and then a global boycott were among the results. The Jewish Labor Committee, its regional offices and members jumped in to support the workers. An historic settlement was reached with most Hyatt hotels, but not the ones in the Boston area. So the New England JLC kept up its activism.
Right from the beginning, the NE JLC was in the fight with both feet. Rabbi Barbara Penzner of Temple Hillel B'nai Torah and a co-chair of NE JLC along with our regional director Marya Axner, mobilized congregants, rabbis and JLC members. to support the boycott of the Hyatt Regency Boston, Hyatt Boston Harbor and Hyatt Regency Cambridge.
Rabbi Penzner drafted a petition signed by Jewish clergy around the country and worked to keep religious groups from holding events at Hyatt hotels. She traveled to Chicago to confront Hyatt executives and rallied clergy to disrupt shareholder meetings. The NE JLC participated in rallies (as did JLC in other parts of the country), arranged for letters to be written and helped keep the issue in front of the public.
Finally, a few weeks ago, the Boston-area Hyatts gave in, agreeing to pay $1 million to the fired housekeepers and offering them hiring preference at future Hyatt-operated hotels.
All of us at the JLC are proud of the work that the NE JLC did on behalf of the housekeepers and of the fact that the Boston Globe story and editorial in particular highlighted Rabbi Penzner's activity, which were so important to this victory.
(l-r: Sandra Korn, Dave Borrus. Martha Plotkin, Amy Mazur, Roberta Bauer, Marya Axner, Jim Marshall, Dick Bauer, Stephanie Ainbinder, and Glen Dansker at a demonstration in Boston, July 26th, 2012.)