Jewish leaders pledge support for Hyatt boycott

By Julie Wernau
Posted Aug. 23, 2010 at 1:31 p.m.

With support from hundreds of Jewish leaders, Chicago Hyatt workers are calling for a boycott of “one or more” Hyatt hotels in the Chicago area, according to Unite Here, the hotel workers’ union.

The properties will join seven other boycotts announced by the union at Hyatt properties. The union would not say which hotels are planned for the boycott, which is scheduled to be announced Tuesday afternoon in front of Hyatt Global Headquarters.

Contracts for 6,000 hotel workers in Chicago expired a year ago, and labor negotiations have been unsuccessful. While the contracts affect workers at several hotel chains, Unite Here has focused its efforts on Chicago-based Hyatt and the Pritzker family, which controls the chain, holding them up as an example of management that is using the economy as an excuse to take advantage of workers.

Hyatt has continually stated that the Hyatt treats its workers fairly and that such conversations are best left to the negotiating table.

In December, more than more than 200 rabbis and cantors across the country signed a petition calling on Hyatt to rehire 98 Boston housekeepers who were let go and replaced with cheaper, outsourced labor in August 2009. At its first public shareholders meeting this June, the company faced dozens of religious leaders who compared Hyatt’s labor practices with Pharaoh’s enslavement of the Israelites.

Jewish leaders have signed “An Appeal for Justice at Hyatt” in advance of the boycotts, calling on all Jewish institutions and individuals to “support Hyatt workers in their disputes” and expressing their plans to boycott Hyatt properties.

Other boycotts have been called by workers at Hyatt properties in Boston, San Francisco and San Diego, Calif.

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  1. BDD Aug. 23, 2010 at 1:36 pm

    How many of those workers were legal?

  2. Ed McGuinnes Aug. 23, 2010 at 1:58 pm

    Does this have anything to do with Penney Pritzkers support of Obama?

  3. JOHN C Aug. 23, 2010 at 2:39 pm

    Unite and Hyatt can sling mud at each other because they know they are both dirty. Machines cannot clean rooms or make beds so deal with the reality of the situation, people matter the most. hyat jsut had an IPO and “labor” is being asked to balance the corporate books

  4. Blu Aug. 23, 2010 at 5:29 pm

    Cool… Hyatt can hire non-union labor, and will likely lower the rates to fill the rooms back up. All the more reason to go to Hyatt.

  5. J Aug. 24, 2010 at 11:26 a.m.

    Which Jewish leaders and/or organizations pledged support? It’s not clear at all from the story.

  6. Matt Aug. 24, 2010 at 2:41 pm

    The list of Jewish leaders can be found here —