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The News Line: Feature HYATT HOUSEKEEPERS & UNIONS LAUNCH THEIR WORLD BOYCOTT! THE AFL-CIO, NFL Players Association, the NOW, Netroots Nation, the LGBT organisations and many more joined Hyatt housekeepers for the launch of a worldwide boycott.

DeMaurice Smith, Executive Director of the NFL Players Association, is among the many allies who stood with the Hyatt workers for the launch of the global boycott.

On Monday, July 23rd, 2012, Hyatt workers and allies formally launched the global boycott of Hyatt.

Leaders from the NFL Players Association, the National Organization of Women (NOW), the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, Netroots Nation, Interfaith Worker Justice, and more joined Hyatt housekeepers at a press conference in Washington, D.C. to make a formal announcement about the boycott launch.

The launch of the global boycott marked the largest escalation to date in an ongoing campaign for basic worker rights.

Hyatt has singled itself out as the worst hotel employer in America. Hyatt has abused housekeepers and other hotel workers, replacing longtime employees with minimum wage temporary workers and imposing dangerous workloads on those who remain.

In response, Hyatt workers have taken bold steps to end mistreatment, speaking publicly about abuses, going on strike, and now, launching a global boycott of Hyatt.

‘Hyatt systematically abuses housekeepers and other hotel workers, and it is unacceptable in 2012 that women endure debilitating injuries as a result of the work they do cleaning rooms,’ said John Wilhelm, the President of UNITE HERE.

‘We call on Hyatt to end its systematic abuse of housekeepers and adopt the recommendations made by the federal government to reduce the physical strain associated with housekeeping work.’

The launch is accompanied by a full week of demonstrations at Hyatt Hotels and other actions in 20 US cities, including Los Angeles, Honolulu, San Francisco, Chicago, Baltimore, Indianapolis and Boston.

Participants in the July 23 2012 press conference which launched the global boycott include:

• Hyatt hotel housekeepers and other workers nationwide

• Richard Trumka, President, AFL-CIO

• Terry O’Neill, President, National Organization for Women (NOW)

• DeMaurice Smith, Executive Director, National Football League Players Association (NFLPA)

• Darlene Nipper, Deputy Executive Director, National Gay and Lesbian Task Force

• Deepak Bhargava, Executive Director, Center for Community Change

• Kim Bobo, Executive Director, Interfaith Worker Justice

• Nolan Treadway, Political Director of Netroots Nation

• Alice Cohan, Political Director of the Feminist Majority Foundation

• Peggy Shorey, Executive Director, Pride at Work

• MarQuis Fair, National Black Justice Center

• Jerame Davis, Executive Director, National Stonewall Democrats

• Cindy Pearson, Executive Director, National Women’s Health Network

• Cleve Jones, Founder of the NAMES Project AIDS Memorial Quilt; and founder of Sleep with the Right People—a coalitional project between UNITE HERE and the LGBT community

• Rabbi Barbara Penzner, Chair of the Rabbinic Cabinet of the Jewish Labor Committee and Founder of the Justice at Hyatt campaign

• Catholic leaders from Network (The National Catholic Social Justice Lobby), Faith in Public Life, Labor Priests, the Franciscan Action Network, and Catholic Scholars for Worker Justice

In conjunction with the Washington, D.C. launch event, Hyatt workers and community supporters will be engaging in a week of action in 20 US cities throughout the week.

The week also marks the launch of a major social media programme to ‘Vote Hyatt the Worst Hotel Employer in America’.

As such, allies like MoveOn.org, Tom Morello, Netroots Nation, American Rights at Work, the Courage Campaign, the United Farmworkers Union, Making Change at Walmart, the Jewish Council on Urban Affairs, among others are joining Hyatt workers this week in calling on over two million people online to ‘Vote Hyatt Worst’ to send a message to Hyatt that its abuse and exploitation of hotel workers will not be tolerated.

The global Hyatt boycott has been endorsed by virtually every union representing hotel workers worldwide. Additionally, over 5,000 individuals and organisations have pledged to honour boycotts called by Hyatt workers.

The IUF is a global union federation including hotel and food service workers’ unions.

It represents over 12 million workers in 120 countries. Delegates to a recent congress unanimously voted their support of the global Hyatt boycott in May.

The IUF noted that ‘Hyatt’s business model relies upon the abuse and exploitation of women housekeepers and immigrants,’ and that ‘IUF supports Hyatt workers in their struggle for dignity and justice.’

Hundreds of hotel workers in India have staged demonstrations outside of Hyatt hotels in Delhi, Goa, and Chennai in support of the global Hyatt boycott. Hotel workers are also fighting against subcontracting in the hospitality industry in India, where Hyatt has 56 hotels in development. Additionally, the Indian National Trade Union Congress (INTUC) has formally endorsed the global Hyatt boycott on behalf of the 10 million workers in India this union represent.

The United Kingdom’s largest union, Unite, pledged to support the Hyatt boycott on behalf of its 1.6 million members. Members of Unite held a solidarity rally outside of the Hyatt Andaz at Liverpool Street in London, Another union, the GMB, featured the Hyatt boycott during the Global Pride parade in London on July 7, and is planning further actions during the week of the global boycott launch.

In the Philippines, several groups held a solidarity action in support of Hyatt workers. The IUF-affiliated NUWHRAIN, the hotel workers union in the Philippines, joined with the Alliance for Progressive Labor (APL) and Sentro ng mga Progresibong Manggagawa (Sentro) to send a strong message outside the Hyatt Hotel and Casino Manila.

In a press statement by NUWHRAIN, workers expressed their ‘solidarity with the workers of Hyatt in the United States and elsewhere in the world who have suffered and continued to suffer from many forms of exploitation and abuses perpetrated by the hotel brands under the Hyatt Corporation.’

Nearly 100,000 members of SumOfUs.org in Australia, the United Kingdom and North America signed a petition calling on the Hyatt Regency Santa Clara to reinstate Martha and Lorena Reyes, who were fired after an objection to the posting of demeaning pictures of housekeepers in bikinis on a bulletin board at work.
 
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