Don't Drink the Tea. Think With the WE.

Unite Here and Hyatt End Long Battle, Workers Land Retroactive Pay Increases, Pension Victories

submit to reddit  

Four long years and a global boycott later, a tentative agreement has been struck between Hyatt Hotels and the union representing thousands of its employees, Unite Here.  

Announced on Monday, the agreement will take effect once union contracts are approved by workers in Chicago, Honolulu, Los Angeles and San Francisco.  While details of the contracts are mostly still unknown, the New York Times reports that workers will receive retroactive pay increases and get to keep their current health benefits and pensions until 2018.  D. Taylor, President of Unite Here, said the agreement establishes“a fair process that both we and the employer are comfortable with.”  Taylor went on to add:

“We look forward to a new collaborative relationship with Hyatt. This agreement shows that when workers across the hotel industry stand together, they can move forward, even in a tough economy. Both organizations deserve credit for working out this constructive step forward.”

Perhaps the biggest victory in the agreement is Hyatt’s allowance henceforth of non-union workers’ pursuit of union representation without management opposition.  In exchange, Unite Here has lifted their global boycott against the Chicago-based hotel chain.  Lost in the secrecy of the details is how workers will select the union they wish to be represented by:

The union is also reticent about exactly what processes workers may employ to win union recognition. One union official said that the process would be similar to one used at the Long Beach Hyatt when workers recently chose to affiliate with the UNITE HERE local there. According to a Los Angeles union official, “it wasn’t a pure card check process,” in which the employer agrees to recognize the union once a majority of workers have signed affiliation cards. “But,” he adds, “it was like card check. There was a neutrality agreement from the hotel, and a time limit placed on the signature-gathering.”

D. Taylor told the Chicago Tribune that he was hopeful the agreement would be ratified in all four cities:

“People are getting a substantial wage increase, a guaranteed pension and great health insurance, and that does not happen too often in America,” Taylor said. “I think they will feel good about it.”

The agreement may also take some pressure off of the Obama Administration which is mired in a backlash following the naming of Hyatt heiress Penny Pritzker to his cabinet as Commerce Secretary.  While Pritzker was not part of the negotiating process this neutrality deal could stem the tide of discontent between unions and the administration.

Pritzker’s nomination was confirmed by a 97-to-1 vote. The lone objection came from Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders who issued a strong statement regarding Hyatt’s longstanding business practices:

“We need a secretary of commerce who will represent the interests of working Americans and their families, not simply the interests of C.E.O.’s and large corporations,” Sanders said. “Workers at Hyatt have been unjustly fired for trying to form a union to collectively bargain for better wages and benefits. Unfortunately, Ms. Pritzker chose not to defend those employees.”


No Comments on “Unite Here and Hyatt End Long Battle, Workers Land Retroactive Pay Increases, Pension Victories”

No one has commented on this entry yet.

Leave a Reply

To prove you're a person (not a spam script), type the security word shown in the picture. Click on the picture to hear an audio file of the word.
Anti-spam image