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For Immediate Release
September 24, 2009
Annemarie Strassel
(312) 617-0495
Jim Baker
(312) 933-0230

Fired Boston housekeeper appeals to Penny Pritzker
Housekeeper delegation calls on Hyatt Director to rehire terminated workers

Angela Norena, a fired housekeeper from the Hyatt Harborside Hotel in Boston, appealed to Hyatt Hotels director Penny Pritzker this morning at the Sheraton Chicago Hotel and Towers to reverse Hyatt's termination of approximately one hundred housekeepers at three Boston-area hotels. Norena was joined by union housekeepers in a delegation of twenty women from a number of Chicago hotels in calling on Pritzker to rehire the Boston group. Pritzker refused to listen to Norena's concerns, according to the Union.

On August 31, Hyatt fired 100 long term housekeepers in three Boston-area hotels and replaced them with low wage workers from a subcontractor after telling the workers they were training "vacation" replacements, according to the Boston Globe. The housekeepers, most of whom were women who made approximately $15 per hour with benefits, were replaced with workers making close to minimum wage and with no benefits.

Meanwhile, Hyatt Hotels Corporation made $1.3 billion in profits from 2004 to 2008 and, as of August, is sitting on $1.2 billion in cash and cash equivalents. Hyatt is 85% owned by Chicago's Pritzker family. Penny Pritzker is on Hyatt's board of directors and is a first cousin of Hyatt chairman Thomas Pritzker. Penny Pritzker was at the Sheraton this morning to address the 19th annual conference of the National Investment Center for the Seniors Housing and Care Industry.

The former Boston housekeeper was disappointed by Penny Pritzker's reaction, but will continue to fight for her and her coworkers' jobs back. "She is on Hyatt's Board of Directors and is a member of the Pritzker family," said Angela Norena, who worked as a housekeeper at the Hyatt Harborside Hotel for 15 years. "If anyone can make Hyatt do the right thing, it's Penny Pritzker."

Hyatt has garnered national attention because of its actions in Boston. In a September 22nd letter to Hyatt, Massachusetts governor Deval Patrick has committed to direct all state employees not to use Hyatt when traveling or for other purposes if Hyatt does not reinstate the fired housekeepers.

Later this afternoon, nearly 200 hospitality workers and community supporters will be arrested as part of a non-violent civil disobedience action in downtown Chicago in front of the Park Hyatt Hotel, according to UNITE HERE Local 1. Area workers point to Hyatt Hotels as an emblem of how corporations are taking advantage of working people in tough times. Workers and community allies in San Francisco are also participating in a civil disobedience action today aimed at Hyatt.



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