Union Issues Heat Up in Boston and Chicago

Of 98 housekeepers fired from Boston-area Hyatt hotels, 77 have rejected the company's offer to place them in jobs with a staffing company. According to the Boston Globe, the employees, who were earning $15 an hour, were let go from the Hyatt Regency Boston, the Hyatt Harborside and the Hyatt Regency Cambridge and replaced with workers from an Atlanta staffing company charging $8 an hour.

Last Thursday, in solidarity with the Boston workers, approximately 200 supporters staged a peaceful protest in front of the Park Hyatt Hotel in Chicago. Since Aug. 31, about 6,000 union hotel workers at more than 30 hotels in Chicago have been in negotiations over a new contract; however, talks with hotel companies have grown contentious. In particular, according to a spokesperson for Unite Here Local 1 in Chicago, the contract put forth by Hyatt did not include adequate health-care benefits.

In a statement concerning the Chicago demonstration, Hyatt officials said, “We have come to every discussion in good faith and will continue to do so. The Hyatt hotels in Chicago will continue to offer a competitive wage and benefit package.”

Also on Thursday, a rally was held by 1,700 union employees and supporters, organized by Unite Here Local 2, the chapter representing about 9,000 hotel workers who have been working without a contract since last month. Two hotels in Union Square, the Grand Hyatt and the Westin St. Francis, were involved.

For more on the story, visit boston.com.

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