Friday, September 25, 2009

Hyatt Exploits Recession to Boost Profits

This past Wednesday. Tom Ashbrook, host of On Point interviewed Barbara Ehrenreich, author most famous for Nickel and Dimed On (Not) Getting By in America and two women, hotel housekeepers, recently fired by Hyatt Hotels Corp who hired replacements at half their wages.

The two women were part of a group of 98 employees Hyatt mercilessly fired from housekeeping - some of whom gave over 20 years of service, and who were tricked into training their replacements unknowingly - in a cost cutting measure in August, with absolutely no warning whatsoever. Many of the fired housekeepers made $16 an hour while the replacements make $8 an hour. Hyatt will now have the burden of maintaining the same quality of service, considering the replacements, paid only half the wages, will be responsible for double the work load (from 16 rooms to 32 rooms per day).

As Barbara Ehrenreich pointed out, Hyatt's problem was not the housekeeper's hourly wages, rather it's the executive salaries, bonuses and stock options that cost the corporation. In other words, corporate greed trumped common sense, and hopefully Hyatt's despicable cost-cutting measures will come back to bite them in the same place their brains obviously reside.

Today, after experiencing negative publicity, a threat to boycott from the Governor and taxi drivers, and public outcry against the hotel company, Hyatt said "it’s arranged full-time jobs through an outsourcing firm for the 98 housekeepers it recently fired from its three hotels in Boston and Cambridge and replaced with cheaper outsourced workers".

"Hyatt has faced withering criticism and even a boycott threat from Gov. Deval Patrick over the firings, which sparked protests yesterday in Chicago, where the company is headquartered".
However, these women, who were ruthlessly replaced, want to return to their jobs.
“Hyatt’s latest proposal is simply a smokescreen designed to trick people into thinking Hyatt is doing the right thing. It does not provide the women with the one thing they really deserve.

These women have made it clear that they want to be returned to the jobs they have held for years, and Hyatt’s PR scheme does not diminish their determination.” -- Janice Loux, president of United Here Local 26
Currently, Gov. Deval Patrick spoke with local Hyatt management and worker representatives, and is reviewing the proposal.

Unfortunately, Hyatt is only one of many hotel chains who treat their employees so unfairly.


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