Hotel workers at the Grand Hyatt Seattle and the Hyatt at Olive 8 want to improve their jobs and have a voice in their working conditions. So Seattle Hyatt hotel workers and their supporters called for a fair process to form a union.
In July, UNITE HERE and the Hyatt Hotels Corporation reached a national agreement on such a process, which has gone forward at other Hyatt hotels in the U.S. But local owner Richard Hedreen has refused to agree to this process in Seattle.
Hotel housekeeping is difficult work that can lead to debilitating pain and injuries from years of lifting heavy mattresses and scrubbing floors.
Workers also say more hotel functions have been handed over to subcontracted temporary workers, who are typically paid less than they are, with even fewer benefits.
By contrast, unionized hotel workers in Seattle enjoy health and safety protections, job security, and affordable family healthcare, among other benefits.
In response, employees at both the Hyatt at Olive 8 and the Grand Hyatt Seattle have joined together to denounce the difficult working conditions and use of subcontracted workers that can supplant long-term employees. Workers are calling on customers not to eat, sleep, or meet at the two hotels until they reach a deal with Mr. Hedreen.
“Richard Hedreen has done the right thing for his workers in the past, and Hyatt has removed any roadblocks for him to do so in this instance,” says King County Council Chair Larry Gossett. “We are asking him to step up and give workers a truly sustainable and secure future in Seattle.” King County Councilmembers Larry Gossett, Joe McDermott, Julia Patterson, and Larry Phillips have also endorsed the boycott.
Despite Mr. Hedreen’s current refusal to honor workers request for a fair process, workers remain determined. Yuan Ping Tang, a houseman at the Hyatt at Olive 8, says, “This boycott may cost workers like me money, but the cost of doing nothing is much greater.”