By Mia Fill
As Hyatt housekeepers launch their global boycott of Hyatt today, I am thinking back on my first delegation with IWJ as a summer intern. As the capstone to our internship training, all 20 or so interns participated in a delegation at the Hyatt Hotel on Wacker Drive in Chicago. We prayed in front of (with the hopes of praying with) management and asked them to stand with a worker who was recently terminated and prayed they’d offer her back her job.
We stood behind two pastors, two rabbis and a reverend supporting the worker’s demand to management; the energy and strength among us was undeniable. To visibly pray and sing in the lobby of the Hyatt about the hurt they are causing their workers and to pray for these workers in front of guests and current staff is a unifying experience. It fully illustrates the power of people from all walks of life, different faiths and different stories in solidarity. At the delegation, I learned that supporting workers as they confront their employers is difficult, and the delegation I participated in might not have gone as well as it did (according to Hyatt Hurts, Hyatt has turned heat lamps on protesting workers during a Chicago heat wave.) See more reasons “Why Hyatt Hurts”
Hotel workers make our stay enjoyable. They change our sheets everyday and assure we are well taken care of, but what the housekeepers go through to give us clean sheets and towels is often hidden from guests. According to Hyatt Hurts, “some Hyatt housekeepers clean up to 30 rooms per eight-hour shift.” Injury rates for Hyatt housekeepers are high, and workers’ jobs are continuously threatened if they speak out.
What can I do to show my solidarity with Hyatt housekeepers as I make summer travel plans? There is more to take into consideration when choosing a hotel than what fits my budget. As a guest, it is important the hotel in where I stay treats workers fairly and recognizes the value of their labor. According to Hyatt Hurts, Hyatt housekeepers are getting hurt daily! The mistreatment of Hyatt’s housekeepers is putting them at constant risk.
Here are a few additional reasons to join the global boycott against Hyatt:
- The working conditions for Hyatt housekeepers are unsafe. Hyatt has been issued 18 health and safety citations at 11 hotels by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration.
- A Hyatt in Boston fired its entire housekeeping staff to replace them with temp workers for minimum wage.
- The federal government acknowledged there is a problem in the way Hyatt treats workers and issused a letter warning Hyatt of the hazards housekeepers are facing on the job
Stand in solidarity with Hyatt housekeepers. Join the global boycott & Vote Hyatt the Worst!
Mia is a part-time intern at IWJ's communication department as part of IWJ's Summer Internship program. Before begining her internship at IWJ, Mia worked in new media for Amnesty International's Midwest office.