Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Hotel workers get contract back

By Dave Felice

Employees of the Hyatt Regency hotel in Denver celebrate their Unite HERE Local 14 union contract 
with their clerical representatives, Daniel Klawitter (center left) and Aaron McEmrys (center right).
Employees at the only hotel in Colorado with a union workforce are celebrating restoration of their collective bargaining agreement. With help from several advocates on the Denver City Council, employees at the city-owned Hyatt Regency now have a contract running until 2013.

In January 2011, members of Unite HERE Local 14 workers were shocked to learn that because of what was termed a “legal technicality,” Hyatt would no longer recognize the union as the exclusive bargaining agent. The contract has finally been reinstated after a year of negotiations.

On Tuesday, March 20, Unite HERE Local 14 gathered at Emily Griffith Opportunity School to observe the contract restoration success. City Council members Chris Nevitt, Paul Lopez, Susan Shepherd, Robin Kneich, and Debbie Ortega joined the observance.

Unite HERE Local 14 has been successful in reducing the housekeeping work load at the hotel, as well as securing affordable health care and better wages for the hotel staff.

Around the country, labor supporters criticize Hyatt for mistreatment, disparagement, and mistreatment of employees.

Workers in the San Francisco area rallied on International Women’s Day, March 9, to protest the firing of two women at the Hyatt Hotel in Santa Clara.

This story is reported exclusively by Denver Direct. The home delivery newspaper does not carry the story. Critics claim management of The Denver Post has a strong bias against organized labor.

Update: “Both sides are to be commended for the peaceful settlement of the labor dispute at the Hyatt.  This strong and diverse workforce stayed united and focused on their goal of seeing the contract honored, and after a long period, the Hyatt finally agreed with City Councilmembers that it was in the best interests of the City and the Hotel to honor their contract and avoid an unnecessary legal battle.  I commend them for doing so.” Councilwoman Robin Kniech.