Hundreds of union and nonunion workers of Hyatt Hotel gathered outside San Francisco’s prestigious Grand Hyatt Hotel Thursday afternoon, protesting against the existing labor conditions of the housekeeping staff.
Stockton Street was blocked off. Since 4 p.m., about 100 protestors stood in the middle of the street and chanted their demands. In addition, they distributed flyers to passersby. Hundreds of other demonstrators clustered along Stockton sidewalk between Sutter Street to Union Square.
“Workers here, as at 17 other Hyatts across the United States, are asking you not to sleep, eat, drink, or meet at this hotel,” the demonstrators demanded. “Stay out of the Grand Hyatt Union Square, the Hyatt Regency Embarcadero, the Hyatt Fisherman’s Wharf and all these Hyatt properties.”
The protest was organized by Unite Here Local 2, which represents 12,000 hospitality workers across San Francisco and San Mateo County. Apart from the San Francisco protest, similar demonstrations were also held in 8 other cities, including Boston, Chicago, Philadelphia, Indianapolis, San Antonio, Phoenix, Los Angeles, and Hawaii.
Hyatt has eliminated jobs, replaced career housekeepers with minimum wage temporary workers, and imposed dangerous workloads on those housekeepers who remain, the Unite Here said.
“All the workers of San Francisco Hyatt Hotel’s contracts have expired for 2 years. We stand here to seek for justice.” One worker told San Francisco International Business Times (SF IBTimes).
“We call on Hyatt to directly hire its workers, pay them a living wage, refrain from interfering when workers organize for a voice in their workplace decisions, and embrace the solidarity of workers across hotels rather than trying to divide workers from one another,” a clergy report on working conditions at Hyatt Hotels stated.
The protest took an ugly turn when the police came and arrested nearly 80 people. They were cited for blocking a sidewalk or road, and for failing to obey a police officer, according to a police spokesman. The protest continued until 5:30pm.
“We hope through the protest, Hyatt Hotel will pay more attention to workers’ condition, “Julia Wong, a staff of Hyatt Hotel Union who is familiar with the whole protest, told SF IBTimes.”Until now, Hyatt has lost over $20 million in hotel business as a result of the boycott. We will hold other protest if it is necessary.”
Maritza Wong, 50, who has worked in Hyatt Santa Clara Regency for 4 years as a non union worker, told SF IBTimes, “I come here to fight for fair right. I think today’s protest has a lot of impact. “
“My coworker’s things are my things. I will attend future protest to support each other if there is another protest,” she added.