To summarize the summary, housekeepers at the Hyatt Regency in Boston were asked to train "temporary workers to cover vacations". Last month, the housekeepers were laid off -- escorted out of the building by security, no less! -- and the so-called temporaries were hired through a contractor based in Georgia. Lucine Williams, who was interviewed on NPR as well as in this story, said (paraphrased), "I don't know what I did wrong, I worked for Hyatt for 21 years, my son has asthma, I don't know what I'm going to do."
I can tell her what she did "wrong". She made $15/hour and had insurance and a 401(k). The contractors will be paid $8/hour with no benefits.
According to Hoover's (don't know the date of this information), the Executive Chairman of Hyatt Hotels had a salary of $535,000 and a bonus of $1,400,000.
The President / CEO / Director had a salary of $1,000,000 and a bonus of $810,000.
The COO North America had a salary of $577,500 and a bonus of $16,646.
Sep 17, 2009 10:18 pm US/Eastern
Workers Laid Off By Hyatt Rally In Boston
Reporting Ron Sanders BOSTON (WBZ) ―
Supporters of fired Hyatt hotel workers are picketing the Hyatt Regency Boston near Downtown Crossing right now. Unionized organizers say the reason for the rally is that 130 women who are non-union housekeepers were fired without warning after being required to train new workers who have now replaced them.
"People just started crying. I was like 'oh my God,' said Lucine Williams, fighting back tears.
The veteran housekeeper told us how after nearly 22 years at the Hyatt Regency Boston she and her co-workers lost their jobs August 31st.
"Everybody is in disbelief. People still crying, wanting to understand what's going on. After working here so long, how can you treat people like that, just get up and say I no longer need you anymore...They're human beings. They're human beings."
The union now advocating for them says the housekeepers fired from the Hyatt Regency Cambridge and the Hyatt Harborside at Logan Airport, as well as the Hyatt in Boston, are being replaced by employees of Hospitality Staffing Solutions, a Marietta Georgia company, at roughly half their wages and without benefits the fired workers had, such as health, dental and 401k.
"In the history of Boston hotels, this has never happened and we're not going to let it happen here," said Janice Loux, President of Unite Here Local 26.
Hyatt Hotels released a statement Thursday night saying the company had to make very difficult decisions due to the unprecedented economic client.
"Unfortunately, these decisions have affected our associates at Boston-area properties. A restructuring of our housekeeping services included staff reductions that we deeply regret."
The company also said it's providing those who were laid off with assistance, including severance and outplacement counseling.
While a hospitality industry research group has said this is one of the worst years on record for hotels, the recession has also been daunting for its workers such as Lucine Williams, a single mother who has a 13-year-old son with asthma.
She says, after she was fired, she picked up extra medication for him before her insurance runs out.
"I understand health care is going up. Every year, it's killing everybody...What happened to America? It's a beautiful country and people treat you like that, to save a buck?"
(© MMIX, CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved.)