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Unite Here's Organization of Indianapolis Hyatt Protest
Intended to Result in Mass Arrests for Civil Disobedience

By Tom Knox, The Indianapolis StarMcClatchy-Tribune Regional News

July 22, 2010--About 50 Hyatt workers and sympathizers plan to be arrested in a "civil disobedience action" at the downtown Hyatt Regency tonight. Indianapolis is one of 15 cities nationwide taking part in the protest over what workers and union officials say is a unfair treatment by management.

The hospitality workers' union, Unite Here, is organizing the act.

In all, about 1,000 workers are expected to participate in acts of civil disobedience across the country.

No hotels in Indianapolis are unionized, and Hyatt workers in Indianapolis say they are upset about reduced hours, anxiety over the possibility of the hotel being sold and the hiring of temporary workers to skirt paying benefits.

Workers say the company is using the economy as a front to exploit them.

"They're telling people the hotel is suffering, business isn't want it used to be," said Eric Gomez, 24, a front desk clerk for nearly 3 years. "Since I started working there in 2008 it's just gone up every year. "More and more weekends we're constantly sold out."

About 150 hospitality workers and supporters will speak on the steps of the Statehouse at 4 p.m. today, then move to the Hyatt Regency, 1 S. Capitol Ave., where they plan to be arrested in a non-violent act.

An Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department spokeswoman, Linda Jackson, said police are aware of the demonstration.

Contact Star reporter Tom Knox at (317) 444-6910 or by twitter at tomlknox.


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