Former housekeepers at three Hyatt Hotels in Boston who five years ago were fired without cause have accepted a $1 million settlement offer from the hotel company. The settlement ends a boycott called by UNITE HERE Local 26 to protest their firing.
Hyatt in 2009 dismissed 98 of its housekeepers and replaced them with lower paid housekeepers who worked for an outsourcing company.
The fired workers, who were not union members, turned to Local 26 for help. To protest the firings, the union picketed the hotels, organized support rallies, built community support for the fired workers, and called for a boycott of the hotels.
The hotels affected by the settlement and the end of the boycott are Hyatt Regency Boston, Hyatt Regency Cambridge, and Hyatt Harborside at Logan International Airport.
The fired workers will each receive an amount based on their years of service. Some will receive as much as $40,000.
UNITE HERE has a national campaign to support Hyatt workers who have been treated unfairly by the company.
The Boston area boycott of Hyatt hotels were part of a wider boycott organized by UNITE HERE.
Hyatt hotels included in the boycott are Hyatt Regency Indianapolis, Hyatt Regency Sacramento, Hyatt Fisherman’s Wharf San Francisco, Hyatt Regency Santa Clara, California, Hyatt Regency Scottsdale Resort and Spa at Gainey Ranch Scottsdale, Arizona, Hyatt at Olive 8 Seattle, and Grand Hyatt Seattle.
At some of the boycotted hotels, workers, including housekeepers, are trying to form unions, but the owners of the hotels have refused to allow a fair and neutral process for union recognition.
Workers grievances include crushing workloads, unsafe working conditions, and the fear of losing their jobs to outsourcing firms that pay low wages and do not provide benefits.
In Indianapolis, some of these outsource workers have been trying to organize for better pay and better treatment, and UNITE HERE has supported them.
Across the Atlantic in France, Hyatt housekeepers who work for an outsourcing company recently won a strike.
Housekeepers at the Park Hyatt Paris–Vendome stayed off the job for four days and according to IUF won a substantial wage increase that brings their “pay into line with other luxury hotels.”
The workers belong to FSCS-CGT, which is affiliated with IUF, an international federation of unions whose members work in the food service, hospitality, food processing, and agricultural industries.
Many of them are women of color who have immigrated from France’s former colonies.
The Boston Globe reports that Hyatt agreed to settle with the fired housekeepers because it wants to operate the hotel being built as part of the expanded Boston Convention and Exhibition Center and felt that the boycott would hurt its chances of winning the contract to manage the hotel.
Wanda Rosario, one of the housekeepers involved in the settlement, worked at the Hyatt Regency Boston 24 years before she was fired.
She told the Globe that if Hyatt gets the contract to operate the new hotel, she would help make it a union hotel.
“They’re going to see me in front of their hotel to try and put a union there,” said Rosario to the Globe.