SF hospitality workers to protest Hyatt today

Pub date July 22, 2010
WriterAlex Emslie
SectionPolitics Blog

San Francisco hospitality workers will join hotel employees in 14 other cities across the United States and Canada today, July 22, in a protest and civil disobedience demonstration against the Hyatt Corporation. The action in San Francisco begins at Local 2 Plaza, between 3rd and 4th streets on Market, at 4 p.m. The demonstration will eventually move toward Union Square and the Grand Hyatt San Francisco hotel, organizers said.

More than 1,000 protesters are expected in San Francisco, with approximately 150 prepared to be arrested, hospitality union Unite Here Local 2 spokeswoman Riddhi Mehta told the Guardian. Tens of thousands of hotel workers are anticipated to participate in protests across North America, and more than 1,000 plan to be arrested.

The union is demanding a contract with the Hyatt Corporation that does not unduly burden middle-class workers with health care costs, Mehta said.

“The Hyatt Corporation has repeatedly said they want workers to pay hundreds of dollars per month for family medical,” Mehta told the Guardian. “Workers have sacrificed wages for decades to keep health care, to the point that their average income is $30,000 to $35,000 per year.”

Union hospitality workers have been without a contract in the city for nearly a year, resulting in an organized boycott of eight San Francisco hotels, including the three owned by the Hyatt Corporation. Union leaders criticize Hyatt’s attempts to “lock workers into recession” while the corporation has made windfall profits since the company first offered public sale of stock last November, according to the Hotel Workers Rising website.