May 28, 2013
By Neal Tepel
Washington, D.C. – Hyatt workers, joined by UNITE HERE President D. Taylor, were present for a Senate hearing on May 23, 2013 with Penny Pritzker. UNITE HERE opposes her nomination as Secretary of Commerce. Hyatt's record of labor abuses and outsourcing jobs makes Ms. Pritzker, a longtime Hyatt board member and heir to the Hyatt fortune, a bad choice for Commerce Secretary.
In recent years, Hyatt has drawn criticism for opposing higher wage standards, replacing longtime housekeepers with minimum wage temps, and lobbying against safer working conditions for hotel housekeepers.
Hyatt has singled itself out as the worst hotel employer America, leading the industry in outsourcing practices that destroy good jobs and hurt housekeepers. Some Hyatt housekeepers clean as many as 30 rooms a day, getting paid as little as $2 per room. In a first for the hotel industry OSHA issued a companywide letter to Hyatt warning it of the hazards its housekeepers face on the job.
Hyatt workers have been locked in a protracted battle with the company, which has resulted in numerous strikes nationwide and a global boycott of Hyatt Hotels. Hyatt workers have protested against Pritzker's nomination in Chicago—Hyatt's hometown. UNITE HERE has published ads detailing worker abuses and calling President Obama's nomination "A Mistake." UNITE HERE has also submitted a statement of opposition to Sen. Jay Rockefeller, Chair of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation.
"Under Ms. Pritzker's leadership, Hyatt has exhibited a broad pattern of labor abuses, including aggressive outsourcing, low wages and the mistreatment of housekeepers," says D. Taylor, the President of UNITE HERE. "In order to get our nation on the road to recovery, the Commerce Department needs leadership far different from what Ms. Pritzker has demonstrated at Hyatt Hotels."