It took five years and a boycott of Hyatt hotels in Massachusetts with additional support from governor Deval Patrick to get Hyatt to finally settle in favor of former hotel employees. Here’s how it all started-
Back in 2009, Hyatt ignited a firestorm of protests across the country after it had its housekeepers in Boston train workers from a staffing agency. The housekeepers were told the trainees would be vacation replacements but when the training was complete the workers were fired August 31, 2009, and replaced by the trainees who earned half the pay. The astonishing thing for me is that someone has estimated that Hyatt lost $6 million dollars in revenue during this five year period. Their stubbornness and anti-worker mindset ended up costing them more in the end.
Photo by Sweet One
I was reading this New York Times article about how hotels are monitoring sites like TripAdvisor and Travelocity to see what customers are saying about them. They even monitor the Internet in general for negative comments directed towards their brand.
Customer feedback used to be for internal use only, but as guests increasingly turn to the Web to air their reactions to their stays, hotels view customer satisfaction as even more important to their business. A study from the Center for Hospitality Research at Cornell University recently found that hotels with better customer reviews on travel rating sites like Travelocity and TripAdvisor could charge slightly higher rates. Thomas P. Botts, executive vice president and chief customer officer at Denihan Hospitality Group, said customer satisfaction was so important to his company that a portion of employee compensation was tied to it.
What I find odd is the fact that these hotel chains could care so much about customer opinion to the point where they compensate their employees for good service, but at the same time abuse and underpay those same workers.
There is a laundry list of problems that hotel workers face when going to work at a Hyatt hotel. There have been allegations of wage theft, the firing of full time staff to bring in temp workers and forcing employees to clean an insurmountable number of rooms within an allotted time frame. There’s a lot more going on but I’ll leave that you you to go to the Hyatt Hurts! campaign site and learn more.
So the thought I have is this, if they care so much about their reputation to customers why don’t we turn that against them?
So here we are at the dawn of Super Bowl 46. It’s the New England Patriots versus the New York Giants; an east coast love/hate affair if there ever was one. Super Bowl 46 continues the tradition of the Super Bowl being one of America’s largest non-secular holidays–rivaling only that of Earth Day.
As you enjoy Super Bowl 46, there’s one story I’d like to remind you of as it won’t be one of those multi-million dollar commercials you see today. Right in the center of it all at the Hyatt Regency Indianapolis there are hotel workers fighting a Super Bowl-like battle of their own.
From the AFL-CIO blog:
Last month after area hotel workers filed a federal lawsuit alleging wage and hour violations against Hyatt subcontractor Hospitality Staffing Solutions (HSS) and 10 downtown hotels, including the Hyatt Regency Indianapolis, Hyatt announced that it would cut ties with HSS, according to UNITEHERE .
Thus far, Hyatt has refused to hire the HSS workers directly and that means 20 workers, some who have been on the job for nine years as full-time employees, will be out of work after Feb. 8.
If there ever was a comparison to make between the 99 percent versus the 1 percent it would be the fact the Hyatt and other hotels can make $1,000 a night during the week of Super bowl 46. You would think that some of that profit could be passed down to ensure hotel workers have a good and secure job.
Oh, Morgan Spurlock. While I appreciate all that you do as a documentary filmmaker doing ads for Hyatt in your film was probably not a good idea. In my opinion like many hotel chains they are a brand that needs some scarring for their treatment of their employees. When I heard Stacey Snyder, Hyatt’s Director of Marketing Communications talk about her brand in glowing terms the word disingenuous comes to mind.
Hyatt for one has turned heat lamps on to inflict pain on striking workers. This time they fired two hotel employees after they refused to be degraded in some stupid photo-shopped madness that another of their employees concocted.
A workplace that considers such pictures an appropriate form of “appreciation” is bad enough; ordering people to put back up pictures of themselves that they find offensive and humiliating is worse.
The Hyatt chain has clearly shown that they have no respect for their employees. Their human resources department are complete failures. Furthermore, I think Snyder and her team are shills.
Union workers say someone turned on the heat lamps in blazing hot broad daylight Thursday, as they walked a picket line in front of the Park Hyatt Hotel.
via Workers: Heat Lamps Shined On Hyatt Hotel Picket Line « CBS Chicago.
Sure, the Hyatt corporation loves being sponsors of movies like Morgan Spurlock’s film The Greatest Movie Ever Sold. They want to get their brand out there and show that they pull out all the stops for their customers. In this brandchannel piece Hyatt’s communications director talks a good game but the brand doesn’t live up to the spiel.
Now we have hotel management turning on heat lamps to cook striking workers. With this dangerous heat wave the nation is experiencing these actions are criminal. The police should investigate and bring whoever is responsible for issuing the order to justice.
Years ago my mother tried working in a hotel for a few months. It was hard to keep up with the pace they are expected to have. A housekeeping staff person can have forty rooms assigned to them! This is why I totally get what these workers at various Hyatt’s throughout the nation are doing.
Today, housekeepers at 12 Hyatt hotels in eight cities across the United States, with the assistance of UNITE HERE, filed injury complaints with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) for repetitive motion and other kinds of injuries sustained on the job. Complaints were filed by workers in Hyatt Hotels in San Antonio, Chicago, San Francisco, Santa Clara, Los Angeles, Long Beach, Honolulu, and Indianapolis. In a telephone press call, the housekeepers pointed out that some of the hotels do not have union contracts. Having a union would be one way to get safety issues resolved, they said.
A strike has been authorized by San Francisco hotel workers. More than 9000 hotel workers are represented by UNITE-Here local 2. Ninety-two point three percent of those workers voted in favor of strike authorization at 31 upscale hotels. According to the union the hotels are seeking to increase workloads by cutting shifts and combining jobs.
The hotels have also sought to shift more of the health care burden onto employees. Some of the hotel chains involved in the contract negotiations include Hyatt, Hilton, and Fairmont corporations. The next meeting scheduled between the union and the hotels is on set for November 4. The previous contract expired in August of this year. Workers previously struck hotels in San Francisco five years ago. At the time the workers were also hit with a 53-day lockout by the hotels.
via San Francisco Hotel Workers Vote to Strike | Workers Independent News.
There’s enough online about the way Hyatt’s and Hilton’s treat their workers that I don’t have to say any more. Well, okay I’ll just mention for example a Columbia-Sussex run Hilton. I just wonder if it’s just hotels in general that act this way?
Once again it is the Hyatt that enters into the Hall of Shame.
Some unscrupulous “housecleaning” in Boston-area Hyatt Hotels has blown up into a giant PR mess that will require some time and gentle diplomacy to clean up. Ninety-eight housekeepers have been fired from three of the chain’s Beantown locales and replaced with workers from a staffing company, which has ignited a social-media firestorm, street demonstrations — and even a threatened government boycott from state Governor Deval Patrick.
It would seem that for Hyatt that the hotel workers were simply making too much. So they axed them and got cheaper ones. I truly hope that this gets them a ton of bad PR.
The fight against hotel corporations continue.
When the San Francisco hotel industry hits economic hard times, it means that management doesn’t make quite as much profit as the $200 billion they made over the past decade. But at the same time, they expect the workers who clean the bathrooms and make the beds to make “sacrifices” in their wages, pensions and health care benefits — which they could lose forever. “If I don’t have low-cost, high quality health care through my employer,” asked one worker, “who is going to pay for it? Will you?” Over 1,700 members of UNITE HERE Local 2 and community allies rallied in Union Square yesterday, as the union is locked in negotiations with some of the City’s largest hotel operators – including the Sterwood Corporation, Hyatt and the Blackstone Group. After a boisterous rally, the crowd marched to the Grand Hyatt and Westin St. Francis Hotels – where ninety-two were arrested for a nonviolent sit-in demanding a fair contract.
Whether its Columbia-Sussex, Hyatt, Sterwood Corporation or now the Blackstone Group, to me, they are all the same. The private equity firms like Blackstone Group appear to be the new villains on the scene however. Another incident involving private equity is the Stella D’oro workers fighting Brynwood Partners. No one appears to want to regulate these private equity firms either. I wonder if the NY AG Andrew Cuomo has ever thought of looking into the likes of Blackstone?