Hotel Online 
News for the Hospitality Executive



 
200 Protesters Arrested Outside Park Hyatt Chicago; Union Members Showing
 Support for Labor Negotiations and for 98 Housekeepers Fired at
 Three Boston Hyatt Hotels

By William Lee, Chicago TribuneMcClatchy-Tribune Regional News

September 25, 2009 - About 200 union and hospitality workers were arrested Thursday afternoon as they demonstrated their support for ongoing labor negotiations with major downtown hotels and to show solidarity with fired hotel workers in Boston.

About 900 red-shirted members of Unite Here Local 1 participated in the demonstration outside the Park Hyatt Chicago, 800 N. Michigan Ave. Those arrested sat in the middle of Chicago Avenue as an act of civil disobedience. Despite the large number of arrests, the demonstration had no major dust-ups, police said.

About 6,000 downtown hotel workers have worked without a contract since Aug. 31.

"Workers are angry because they feel like [the hotels] are using the economy as an excuse to hurt them, to have layoffs, to cut hours, to push people out of their benefits [and] to roll back their benefits," Unite Here spokeswoman Annemarie Strassel said.

In a statement, Hyatt officials said they were confident they would reach an amicable agreement with the union.

"We respect the union's decision to gather today but believe the most productive place to address these important matters is at the negotiating table," the statement said.

Park Hyatt server Susan Tynan, a union negotiator and among those arrested, said cuts in health care could drastically hurt co-workers and their families.

"[Getting arrested] is worth doing. So whatever the consequences are, I'm willing to take them," Tynan said in a telephone interview shortly after being released.

The protest also was a show of support for 98 non-union housekeepers fired from three Boston-area Hyatt hotels and replaced with lower-paid subcontracted workers Aug. 31. The firings led Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick to threaten having state workers boycott the hotels when conducting business unless the fired workers were rehired. Some of those housekeepers attended the Chicago protest.

wlee@tribune.com

-----

To see more of the Chicago Tribune, or to subscribe to the newspaper, go to http://www.chicagotribune.com.

Copyright (c) 2009, Chicago Tribune

Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services. For reprints, email tmsreprints@permissionsgroup.com, call 800-374-7985 or 847-635-6550, send a fax to 847-635-6968, or write to The Permissions Group Inc., 1247 Milwaukee Ave., Suite 303, Glenview, IL 60025, USA.




To search Hotel Online data base of News and Trends Go to Hotel.OnlineSearch
Home | Welcome| Hospitality News | Classifieds| One-on-One |
Viewpoint Forum | Industry Resources | Press Releases
Please contact Hotel.Onlinewith your comments and suggestions.