That’s what just happened to Hyatt workers in Boston, as not only people in Massachusetts but around the country know by now. The governor has called the Hyatt CEO to register his concern, there’s been a rally of hundreds of people and Rep. Michael Capuano (also a Senate candidate) has called for a boycott, columnists as far away as Ohio have registered their disgust, and USA Today readers don’t like it either.
But ultimately, only Hyatt management gets to make this decision. That’s the state of labor law in the US today. Which is why, back in July, when Marriott “suspended measuring hours worked to maintain health care benefits,” I argued that though that was a great decision by an employer, it was also a reason this country needs stronger unions (in addition to, as Ezra Klein had argued, health care reform). It’s also a reason we need major labor law reform. Because you shouldn’t have to depend on getting lucky with a good boss-on working for Marriott, not Hyatt.
Hyatt management makes the decision-do right, or do wrong-but we can certainly all let them know what we think of the one they’ve made, and how it will affect our travel plans in future. In particular, if you have any role in the planning of conferences or other group events, let Hyatt know how many people you represent, and how you feel.
And we can support the Employee Free Choice Act and other labor law reform that will exact a higher price on scumbag employers like Hyatt.
Here are the addresses to send letters to the editor at the Globe and the Herald:
p>Here is the address to write the Hyatt’s management [so they will tell their union-busting millionaire bankster bosses they screwed up big time] saying that you, your spouse, your clan, your business, your church’s members [etc] will never spend another penny staying or eating in a Hyatt! Go get em. I did.
101 Harborside Drive
Boston, MA 02128
p>Don’t go silent. Make sure that they feel it in their pocketbooks, their bank accounts, their stock prices – in advance. Make this a customer relations nightmare!
p>TOGETHER WE CAN!
I would have also thought a decent union contract would require that people only be dismissed “for cause” not by mass purge.
I thought these were union workers with the perks thereof who were training their lower-wage replacements. I thought this was a case of firing the unionized to replace them with non-unionized.
to cut labor costs. It’s a case of firing relatively (!) better compensated employees with a claim on the company’s loyalty and replacing with significantly lower paid employees who don’t even directly work for the company.
…that is so awful is that while Hyatt fired workers who were required to unknowingly train their replacements, Hyatt then relies on Massachusetts taxpayers to make up the difference in health benefits. This costs you and me probably tens if not hundreds of thousands of dollars in MassHealth benefits that we are asked to provide to Hyatt’s workers, now that they have gotten them as contract workers. Why are taxpayers asked to subsidize health insurance for one of the biggest hotel chains in the nation?
p>Yes, this is a side issue that is less important than the impact this had on the real every-day lives of 130 hard-working laborers, but it should not be ignored in the public policy discussion.
in the sense that if we had policies on a whole range of issues — this included — that better protected working people, stuff like these firings would be less likely to happen.
The ultimate goal is to decouple health care from employment. The advantage of that is that it encourages new small, innovative businesses to spring up.
Read this article from two weeks ago calling Hyatt The Best Place to Start a Career. Those benefits apply only to managers, not the people cleaning the rooms, who won’t even get a living wage. Hyatt’s crying story is that the economy forced them to outsource the housekeepers. Take a look at the date on that article (Sept 10,2009) — not even 2 weeks ago!
p>If you have a chance please sign this petition.
Helping the fired housekeepers find other jobs and providing them a few months of health insurance is a little like getting a turkey at Christmas. Feels good for a few minutes and then its over.
p>One reason there are few alternative jobs available (apart from the recession) is that the popularity of this sort of outsourcing decreases the total number of half-decent jobs.
p>I hope that liberal politicians as well as the general public don’t let them off the hook this easily.
Hyatt is controlled by the Pritzker family of Chicago. Penny Pritzker is “the founder and current Chair of Classic Residence by Hyatt, a chain of luxury senior living communities spread throughout the United States, and the national finance chair of Barack Obama’s presidential campaign,” according to Wikipedia. She was a key early supporter for his Illinois Senate run.
p>Just as a point of information.