Hyatt Turns Heat Lamps on Striking Housekeepers

Why can't anything be simple?

A Day after Mayor Emanuel began to put into action his grand plan to make Chicago the world's most immigrant-friendly city, housekeepers at the Hyatt Regency hotel and other employees in solidarity staged a picket protesting working conditions.  Hyatt's response?  They turned the heat lamps on the protesters.

Let me repeat that.  They turned on the heat lamps in 100+ degree weather as a response to these workers - most of them female housekeeping staff - exercising their constitutionally  protected rights to freedom of assembly.

Can you say, "negotiating in bad faith"?

Not all labor negotiations are about money, and it actually took a bit of digging to find out what this was all about - sexual harassment.   What these women are really after is an improvement in their working conditions so they can feel safe at work and feel the self-respect that an honest day's work is supposed to confer.

And for that they need to be heard.   I suspect that's the real sticking point here.  It's not money.  There is a contract offer on the table comparable to other recent settlements by major hotel chains ( Trib article).   Why then such a malicious act on the part of Hyatt management?  I could be wrong, but maybe it's because these women are challenging the belief that they should be seen and not heard.

When these women are dealing with men who strip naked while they're trying to do their jobs and ask, "would you like to make a little extra money for a massage?"  how is it much different when they put a contract offer on the table good so long as the women shut up about the harassment?

Doesn't Hyatt have any female executives?

Self-respect.  The ability to go to work without being groped or propositioned.  Simple stuff right?   Turn down the heat, Hyatt and listen to them.  Maybe they have a point.



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  • If this isn't about money and more about harassment as you say, what do these housekeepers want?

    Whistles? Panic buttons? Pepper Spray? Guns?

    How about more training to teach housekeepers that they don't have to stay in a room if they feel uncomfortable and to report any harassment immediately to a supervisor.

  • In reply to gwill:

    They want to wear pants instead of skirts, undo the decrease in security on the floors and to work floors two at a time instead of alone.

    So far as reporting to a supervisor is concerned, there's the biggest problem. Because when they do file reports they're told to be quiet because the men are often VIP's.

    There are also other considerations at play like job security and possibly a hold out to show solidarity with workers in other states that aren't allowed to unionize at all.

    And actually, yes panic buttons were mentioned too.

  • In reply to ThirdCoastVince:

    Females be high maintenance.

  • I'd read that the Hyatt management "didn't know" how the heat lamps were turned on.

    Thanks for the details, I had no idea why they were striking, and it makes the actions of management all the more offensive. In 100 degree heat, turning on heat lamps is equivalent to a physical assault, all because these women are attempting to exert some control over their physical safety.

    Hyatt should be embarrassed, not only for the heat lamps, but for so strongly opposing the safety of its employees.

    And I just have to ask: if this is the attitude toward a pervasive issue of harassment against their employees, how safe are their female guests?

  • In reply to Isa-Lee Wolf:

    I was wondering that myself, Isa. Not all VIPs wear slacks.

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