WBEZ | Park Hyatt http://www.wbez.org/tags/park-hyatt Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Agreement could end bitter Hyatt labor dispute http://www.wbez.org/news/agreement-could-end-bitter-hyatt-labor-dispute-107921 <p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/2011-07-21_07-30-06_733.jpg" style="margin: 4px 0px 0px 0px; float: right; height: 218px; width: 300px;" title="Unite Here Local 1 members picketed at the Park Hyatt in downtown Chicago on July 21, 2011. As temperatures climbed into the 90s, the hotel turned heat lamps on the pickets. (WBEZ/Chip Mitchell)" />The dispute led to a global boycott of Hyatt Hotels Corp. It got more attention after President Obama nominated Penny Pritzker, whose family founded the hotel chain, to be commerce secretary. At one point, Hyatt turned winter heat lamps on Chicago pickets as summer temperatures neared triple digits.</p><p>Now it could all be over.</p><p>Hyatt and the union Unite Here on Monday announced a deal that covers thousands of company employees in Chicago, San Francisco, Honolulu and Los Angeles. The sides say the agreement could end the boycott.</p><p>&ldquo;That&rsquo;s extremely good news for businesses and groups that are interested in coming to Chicago to hold their conventions or stay in those particular properties,&rdquo; said Doug Patrick, Hyatt&rsquo;s senior vice-president of human resources for the Americas.</p><p>Hyatt and the union say the pact spells out a process for unorganized workers to vote on whether they want the union to represent them.</p><p>Unite Here President D. Taylor said that provision would help the union expand its Hyatt ranks. &ldquo;We feel very confident about growth we&rsquo;re going to achieve in the short term under this settlement,&rdquo; Taylor said.</p><p>Patrick said Hyatt &ldquo;did not stand down.&rdquo; He said the voting would take place only at hotels where the company and union had &ldquo;mutual agreement&rdquo; that &ldquo;this process makes sense.&rdquo;</p><p>The sides said they wouldn&rsquo;t provide a copy of the national deal until contract negotiations in each city were complete and until workers ratified those pacts.</p><p>The contracts, which would run through 2018, would increase Hyatt costs for the unionized labor an average of 4&nbsp;percent a year, Patrick said. Most of that increase would be the result of higher spending on wages and medical insurance, he added.</p><p>The Chicago contracts would cover about 1,500 workers. Raises would be retroactive to 2009, when a set of three-year contracts between Hyatt and the union expired.</p><p>Unite Here has led brief strikes protesting Hyatt outsourcing and the company&rsquo;s allegedly unsafe working conditions. Both sides say the new contracts will include no new safety language but will bring some outsourced work back to Hyatt.</p><p>The union said it would not call off the boycott until the ratifications in all four cities.</p><p><em><a href="“http://www.wbez.org/users/cmitchell-0”">Chip Mitchell</a> is WBEZ&rsquo;s West Side bureau reporter. Follow him on Twitter <a href="“https://twitter.com/ChipMitchell1”">@ChipMitchell1</a> and <a href="“https://twitter.com/WBEZoutloud”">@WBEZoutloud</a>, and connect with him through <a href="“https://www.facebook.com/chipmitchell1”">Facebook</a> and <a href="“http://www.linkedin.com/in/ChipMitchell1”">LinkedIn</a>.</em></p><p>&nbsp;</p></p> Mon, 01 Jul 2013 19:38:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/agreement-could-end-bitter-hyatt-labor-dispute-107921 Park Hyatt strikers decry outsourcing; hotel turns on heaters http://www.wbez.org/story/hyatt-employees-hold-one-day-picket-89447 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/photo/2011-July/2011-07-21/2011-07-21_07-30-06_733.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>The main entrance of an upscale hotel in downtown Chicago was sweltering Thursday morning — and not just because of the rising sun and the week’s heat wave. As pickets marched under the Park Hyatt’s glass awning, the inn switched on 10 heat lamps installed to warm guests in the dead of winter.<br><br>The picketing began a daylong strike in which dozens of Park Hyatt employees walked off their jobs at 7 a.m.<br><br>Their union, UNITE HERE, is trying to put pressure on Hyatt Hotels Corp. during negotiations to replace Chicago-area contracts that expired almost two years ago. The union represents about 1,800 workers at the Park Hyatt, Hyatt Regency Chicago, Hyatt Regency McCormick Place and Hyatt Regency O’Hare.<br><br>The company has agreed to match wages and benefits spelled out in four-year contracts that UNITE HERE reached this year for Chicago employees of two other hotel chains, Hilton Worldwide and Starwood Hotels and Resorts Worldwide Inc.<br><br>UNITE HERE says the Hyatt negotiations are stuck on the company’s ability to outsource work to nonunion firms.<br><br>“If they replace me, it doesn’t matter how good the benefits are because I’ll be out of a job,” says Park Hyatt restaurant server Gabriel Carrasquillo, a picket captain. “I’m HIV-positive so I have a lot of medical expenses. Without these health benefits, I wouldn’t be able to have the care that I have today.”<br><br>UNITE HERE says another contentious point is Hyatt’s housekeeping workloads, which the union calls hazardous. The union funded a peer-reviewed study, published last year in the American Journal of Industrial Medicine, that placed Hyatt fourth among the top five U.S. hotel chains for workplace safety.<br><br>Hyatt responded by commissioning a critique from an occupational health expert who concluded that the study’s authors “have not disrupted the conventional wisdom that housekeeping tasks are not inherently hazardous.”<br><br>Hyatt accuses UNITE HERE of holding up the Chicago talks to pressure the company to recognize the union at hotels in four other cities. “Instead of acting in the best interests of its members, the union is using them to grow its membership,” says Farley Kern, Hyatt’s vice president of corporate communications.<br><br>The strike was the fourth work stoppage to hit a Chicago-area Hyatt since May 2010. Park Hyatt’s reservations desk said the hotel’s 198 rooms were booked solid Thursday morning. Kern insisted the strike would not affect guests because managers were filling in.<br><br>The company's next bargaining session with UNITE HERE is Monday.</p></p> Thu, 21 Jul 2011 12:36:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/hyatt-employees-hold-one-day-picket-89447