Chicago hotel workers ratify local contract with Hyatt Hotels

hyattratification2After four year dispute, new contracts provides thousands of dollars in back pay

Hyatt workers in Chicago have ratified local contracts with Hyatt Hotels, resolving a longstanding dispute between workers and the hotel company that began in 2009. The agreement covers 1500 workers from Hyatt Regency Chicago, Hyatt McCormick Place, the Park Hyatt and Hyatt Regency O’Hare. Both the union and Hyatt hail the agreement as a positive step forward.

Chicago Hyatt workers have been without a contract since August 31, 2009. The new contract, which covers workers into 2018, provides thousands of dollars in retroactive wage increases and gives non-tipped workers an immediate $1.80 wage increase. Housekeepers now earning $14.60 an hour since their contract expired will now jump to $16.40 an hour. Additionally, the new contract limits subcontracting, brings jobs back to the hotel, and ends scheduled overtime where workers in the same classification have been laid off.

“This agreement will put millions of dollars back into the pockets of Hyatt workers in Chicago,” said Demetrius Jackson, Hyatt Regency Chicago convention services houseman. “It is a significant achievement that we have fought hard for over the past four years.”

Hyatt workers have taken numerous actions, including strikes and the launch of a global boycott, in response to unsafe working conditions for hotel housekeepers and Hyatt’s practice of subcontracting jobs. Key allies and have provided support to Hyatt workers in their efforts for a fair contract and an end to mistreatments.

A key provision of the national contract UNITE HERE International Union and Hyatt Hotels, which led to the Chicago agreement, establishes a fair process for workers at non-union Hyatt hotels to join the union. There is a “Solidarity Clause,” which would allow union workers to take action at their own hotels in mid-contract if non-union Hyatt hotels in cities such as Indianapolis have not recognized the union or agreed to a fair process for workers to decide whether to have union representation by October, 2015.

“I am proud of the achievements we have made for our families and the families of non-union Hyatt workers in other cities,” Jackson added.

The ratification of contracts by union Hyatt workers in San Francisco, Honolulu and Los Angeles, as well as Chicago, will trigger the end of the global boycott of Hyatt. With the agreement, 5,000 unionized Hyatt workers nationwide will have a contract for the first time since 2009. Local Hyatt boycotts in several U.S. cities will continue where labor disputes with Hyatt remain unresolved.