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Worker Safety Group Joins Global Boycott of Hyatt Hotels

Monday, June 10, 2013
Press Contacts: 

Dorry Samuels Levine, (508) 277-7997, dorry.samuels@gmail.com

Worker Safety Group Joins Global Boycott of Hyatt Hotels

As Hyatt Shareholders Meet, Support of Hotel Housekeepers and Global Boycott Grow

As Hyatt hotel’s shareholders meet today outside of Chicago, the National Council for Occupational Safety and Health (National COSH) joins a global boycott of the hotel chain in response to widespread evidence of harmful working conditions for hotel housekeepers.

Hyatt housekeepers endure crushing workloads, leading to extensive ergonomic and musculoskeletal injuries. Additionally, the hotel chain, in many cities, has replaced its housekeeping staff with temporary workers earning the minimum wage, among other labor abuses.

In fact, a study published in 2010 in the American Journal of Industrial Medicine examining 50 hotel properties from five different hotel companies found that Hyatt housekeepers had the highest injury rate of all housekeepers studied when compared by company.

More recently, in 2012, the Hyatt Corporation received a letter from the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), stating that the agency identified ergonomic risk factors relating to housekeeping tasks. This followed letters from state OSHA programs to Hyatt hotels in California and Hawaii, urging the hotel chain to reduce ergonomic stress on workers.

“Hyatt has repeatedly ignored workers’ complaints about unsafe, debilitating conditions,” said Tom O’Connor, executive director of National COSH. “Until Hyatt ceases its labor abuses and addresses workers’ concerns, National COSH will boycott the hotel chain – publicly and adamantly.”

OSHA’s recommendations to improve Hyatt housekeepers’ working conditions include:

  • Allowing and providing for housekeepers to use long-handled or adjustable-length tools for dusting, mopping, and other cleaning;
  • Modifying the bed-making process, such as using fitted sheets, to minimize the lifting of mattresses (right now, housekeepers lift each mattress – which can weigh as much as 100 pounds – at least four times to make a bed);
  • Providing motorized carts and lighter-weight vacuums to minimize force exerted; and
  • Organizing work in a matter that minimizes travel distance between rooms and the laundry room.

OSHA also reminded Hyatt that it is required to report injuries and illnesses of all contracted employees under direct supervision of Hyatt per the law.

“These commonsense solutions would go a long way in reducing the wear and tear on housekeepers’ bodies, and may even improve Hyatt’s bottom line if the safety improvements shorten the time necessary to clean a hotel room,” O’Connor said. “Hyatt should implement these recommendations in all of its hotels immediately.” 

UNITE HERE announced the global boycott on July 23, 2012. Since then, the effort to push for the improvement of working conditions and ensure the right of workers to organize has received increasing support from more than 5,000 individuals and organizations, including the AFL-CIO, the NFL Players Association, the National Council of La Raza, the National Organization of Women (NOW), Feminist Majority, the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, Netroots Nation and Interfaith Worker Justice. To date, the boycott has cost the company more than $27 million in business.

To learn more about the boycott, visit www.hyatthurts.org.

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The National Council for Occupational Safety and Health is a federation of local and statewide organizations; a private, non-profit coalition of labor unions, health and technical professionals, and others interested in promoting and advocating for worker health and safety.

To learn more about the National Council for Occupational Safety and Health, visit: http://www.coshnetwork.org.