National Labor Relations Board charges Hyatt Regency Chicago over video surveillance practices

Chicago’s largest hotel refuses to disclose information on its technologies used to track workers and guests

CHICAGO, IL – The National Labor Relations Board filed a complaint against the Hyatt Regency Chicago this week for refusing to disclose information on its surveillance system. Hotel union UNITE HERE Local 1 requested this information in 2017 to determine whether hotel managers have used facial recognition or other tracking technologies to monitor hotel employees.

The NLRB charged that the Hyatt Regency Chicago has refused to disclose whether it has used facial recognition software in the past, and has refused to detail how it locates or tracks specific workers in the hotel. The hotel is required to respond to the complaint by January 26.

“We are very concerned that the Hyatt Regency Chicago has refused to say how it surveils and tracks hotel employees or guests,” said UNITE HERE Local 1 President Karen Kent. “Hyatt’s silence on this matter sets a dangerous precedent for other hotels in the city.”

Illinois state law bans the use biometric data, including a record of face geometry, without the subject’s consent. The Wall Street Journal reported on Wednesday that more than 50 lawsuits concerning the use of facial recognition software have been filed in Illinois since June 2017, according to K&L Gates LLP. The report did not indicate whether any of these suits is against the Hyatt Regency Chicago.

The 2,019-room Hyatt Regency Chicago is the largest hotel in the city of Chicago and employs roughly 800 members of UNITE HERE Local 1. The hotel is owned by corn product manufacturer Kato Kagaku Co. Ltd.

Press contact:
Elliott Mallen, UNITE HERE
emallen@unitehere.org
(312) 656-5807

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UNITE HERE Local 1 represents over 15,000 hospitality and food service workers in the City of Chicago and surrounding area.

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