Feds to prosecute Hyatt Regency Baltimore for violating federal labor law
November 12, 2012
Complaint issued by NLRB alleges unlawful firings, threats and surveillance of union supporters
[Baltimore, MD] The General Counsel of the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) has issued a complaint against the Hyatt Regency Baltimore for violating federal labor law, charging the company with unjust firings, threats and surveillance of union supporters. Hyatt workers, including several fired union supporters, are sharing details of the complaint at a press conference in front of the Hyatt Regency Baltimore today. Community leaders join workers at the event, calling on Hyatt to reinstate fired workers and stay neutral as workers organize.
Charges issued by the federal government resulted from an extensive investigation that began after Hyatt terminated several workers leading an effort to unionize the Hyatt Regency Baltimore this summer. Other workers reported in the investigation being surveilled by Hyatt management or threatened with arrest for leafleting. Hyatt was given an opportunity to present its own witnesses and documents. Now, the federal agency is prosecuting Hyatt, alleging a variety of unlawful activities, such as unjustly firing union supporters, threating workers with arrest for lawfully leafleting customers on Hyatt property, threatening workers for supporting the union, disciplining union supporters unjustly, and survelling union activity. A trial is set for January.
"I'm proud of the work I do, which is why I had to stand up. Hyatt has cut the people in my department from 32 down to 6 and refuses to hire the temps that work with us everyday,” says Mike Jones, a dishwasher and one of the union supporters fired by Hyatt. “We held rally in front of the hotel to speak out, and within less than two weeks, Hyatt fired me and two fellow leaders. Now the federal government is sending a message to Hyatt that we cannot be silenced."
Several community leaders are joining fired Hyatt workers at the press conference today, including Tessa Hill-Aston, President Baltimore Chapter NAACP, Ernie Greco, President Metropolitan Baltimore AFL-CIO, and Father Ty Hullinger, St. Anthony’s de Padua. “The Baltimore Chapter of the NAACP has stood with the workers at the Hyatt since the beginning of this struggle and we will stand with them until it is won.” said Tessa Hill-Aston, President of the Baltimore Chapter of the NAACP.
These complaints add to a litany of controversies that have positioned Hyatt as the worst hotel employer in North America. Hyatt has been criticized for its abuse of housekeepers, aggressive subcontracting practices, and unjust firing of workers who have spoken out against mistreatment.
Workers at the Hyatt Regency Baltimore have been organizing since early June 2012. The majority of hotels in Baltimore are nonunion, and the effort by Hyatt Regency workers to organize is the first of its kind at that hotel in decades. City leaders hoped to revive the Baltimore economy by investing in the hospitality industry, and the Hyatt Regency was the first heavily subsidized major hotel project in Baltimore. Sadly today, many jobs at the Hyatt are subcontracted to workers earning poverty wages with no benefits.
UNITE HERE Local 7 represents workers in Baltimore’s hospitality, food service, and gaming industries. Workers are available for interview. For more information, visit www.HyattHurts.org.