For Immediate Release
June 21, 2012
Fed up with poverty wages and subcontracting, hundreds rally at Hyatt
Hyatt workers lead new wave of organizing citywide, telling the hotel "No More 3/5ths in Baltimore!"
Where: McKeldin Square, Pratt & Light Streets, to Hyatt Regency Baltimore
When: June 21, 4:30pm-6:00pm
Baltimore, MD--Hundreds of hospitality workers and their supporters from across Baltimore are rallying today at the Hyatt Regency to protest low wages and subcontracting of hotel jobs. The event is part of a broader citywide effort to improve jobs in the hospitality industry, Baltimore's second largest industry. The majority of hotels in the city are nonunion, and the effort by Hyatt Regency workers to organize is the first of its kind at that hotel in decades.
In response to the loss of manufacturing jobs regionally, Baltimore city leaders hoped to revive the local economy and create more good jobs by investing millions of taxpayer dollars in the hospitality industry. The Hyatt Regency was the first heavily subsidized major hotel project in Baltimore. Since then, few hotels have been built in the city without some form of public subsidy.
Sadly today, most jobs in Baltimore's hospitality industry are low wage jobs with little stability. Protesters today are carrying banners with the message "No More 3/5ths in Baltimore." Many workers at the Hyatt Regency Baltimore are making little more than $8 an hour or just 3/5ths of what Hyatt workers in similar markets are making. Furthermore, Hyatt is increasingly relying on subcontractors to staff core functions of the hotel, creating a growing class of workers earning little more than minimum wage and no benefits.
"When I started at the Hyatt more than a decade ago, we had 35-40 in-house housekeepers. Today we only have nine. The rest are temps who make as little as $8/hour and have to clean up to 30 rooms a day," said Denise Sidbury, a housekeeper at the Hyatt Regency. "I work side by side with these women every day, and I'm tired of watching Hyatt treat them like they are second-class citizens."
"I think that the Hyatt Regency Baltimore workers should have a fair process for workers to decide on Union representation just like the Hilton Baltimore agreed to," said District 11 City Councilman William Cole in response to workers efforts to organize.