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Religious Officials Have Faith They Can Aid Fired
Housekeeping Staff at Boston's Hyatt Regency

By Jay Fitzgerald, Boston HeraldMcClatchy-Tribune Regional News

Apr. 7, 2010--A delegation of religious leaders could be the answer to the prayers of fired Hyatt hotel housekeepers.

A half-dozen religious leaders representing area churches and temples hope to meet with Hyatt officials today to discuss why the giant hotel chain canned nearly 100 housekeepers last summer after they trained their own replacements.

"I know a lot of the (fired workers), and I know they're good people," said Auxiliary Bishop Robert Hennessey of the Catholic Archdiocese of Boston.

"The Jewish people are standing strongly behind the workers," said Rabbi Toba Spitzer of Congregation Dorshei Tzekek in West Newton. "Our tradition is pretty strong on workers rights, and (Hyatt's action) was pure denial of those rights."

Organized by the state affiliate of Interfaith Worker Justice, Hennessey, Spitzer and others plan to meet first at the headquarters of Unite Here Local 26, which has taken up the cause of the non-union workers. They'll then walk over to the Hyatt Regency Boston at noon today.

In a letter sent last month, Hennessey requested to speak to the Downtown Crossing hotel's general manager, Phil Stamm, though they have yet to hear back from Stamm or Hyatt.

Stamm couldn't be reached for comment. A Hyatt spokeswoman said yesterday afternoon she wasn't aware of any request for a meeting today.

In another development, the Cambridge City Council unanimously passed a measure Monday that would prohibit licensed hotels from subcontracting housekeeping services. The plan still needs to be reviewed by the city's lawyers and License Commission.


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