|By Jeff Swiatek, The Indianapolis
StarMcClatchy-Tribune Regional News
Jan. 09, 2012--An attorney representing 14 Indianapolis hourly hotel workers plans to file a lawsuit today alleging their employers failed to pay them for overtime.
Ten Indianapolis hotels, including some of the city's largest, and the staffing company for which the employees worked, Hospitality Staffing Solutions, are named in the prepared complaint. Jeffrey A. Macey, an Indianapolis attorney for the workers, said he plans to file the 24-page document today in U.S. District Court in Indianapolis.
Macey said he intends to ask the court to make the lawsuit a class action open to more than 1,000 local hotel employees who worked for Hospitality Staffing during the past three years.
Most of the 14 workers making the allegations were housekeepers or food service staff.
One worker, Consuelo Guzman, 34, said Hospitality Staffing regularly paid her for fewer hours than she worked cleaning rooms.
"There were just way too many rooms that were way too dirty in my shift," she said. So to get all the rooms cleaned, she didn't take lunch breaks or worked past the end of her shift, she said.
She estimates she is owed $5,200 for unpaid work over the past two years.
Atlanta-based Hospitality Staffing is one of the largest suppliers of hourly workers to hotels nationally. A call to its local office for comment was not returned Sunday.
Scott Blalock, general manager of the 1,005-room JW Marriott Indianapolis that opened Downtown last year and is named in the complaint, said he hadn't heard any allegations from his employees about unpaid wages.
"Anyone who works for us in our hotel, we expect nothing but full pay for every minute they worked," he said.
Dale McCarty, general manager at the Westin Indianapolis, which also is named, said he wasn't aware that workers at his hotel, which contracts with Hospitality Staffing, had claims about unpaid work. "It's the first I've heard of it," he said.
Unite Here, a labor union for hotel and other hospitality workers that's trying to organize workers at three Indianapolis hotels, helped plaintiffs with the lawsuit by introducing them to Macey, the attorney, and by offering them transportation and interpreter services, said Sarah Lyons, a community organizer for the union.
Macey said all of the workers making the allegations are Latino, and some don't speak English. Also facing allegations are the Canterbury Hotel, the Conrad Indianapolis, Embassy Suites Downtown, Holiday Inn Select Indianapolis Airport, Hyatt Regency Indianapolis, Hyatt Place Indianapolis Airport, Indianapolis Marriott Downtown and the Omni Severin.
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