Update on Workers Situation at Hyatt Regency O'Hare Hotel
Wednesday, September 5, 2012
Recently members of the Society have posted concerns or questions regarding the workers situation at the Hyatt Regency O'Hare Hotel, the site for the 2012 CLSA convention. Below is a brief update on the Society's efforts to address the situation at the Hyatt Regency O'Hare Hotel.
The CLSA first became aware of the labor dispute at the Hyatt Regency O'Hare in 2010. Since that time we have been in contact with officials of Unite Here, which represents the hotel workers at the Hyatt hotels, in an effort to support the concerns of the workers while at the same time being responsible stewards of the financial resources of the Society.
In early 2011, in consultation with a union official, we had the union lawyers review the CLSA contract with the Hyatt to see what options we had regarding alternative sites; it was determined that terminating the contract would cost the Society over $100,000.00. We decided that this was not a viable option for the Society since it would cause serious financial harm to the Society.
Since the Fall of 2010 we have supported the workers concerns in several ways. We have told our convention meeting planners (NIX and Associates) that we will no longer stay in Hyatt Hotels once our current commitments are fulfilled and asked that they not consider Hyatt properties for future CLSA conventions until further notice. Earlier this summer I was invited to, but unable to attend, the launch of the global boycott against Hyatt hotels in Washington, DC; rather, the CLSA offered a message of support for the initiative against Hyatt hotels. Moreover, we remain in regular contact with officials from Unite Here and our efforts have been shared with and appreciated by Unite Here leadership. We also have been in contact either directly or through our NIX representatives with the Hyatt Regency O'Hare Hotel management citing Catholic social teaching on the rights of workers and urging a satisfactory resolution to contract negotiations between Unite Here and the Hyatt hotels. The recent global initiative which extends beyond the Chicago situation has caused us to express again our concerns about the working conditions of Hyatt workers.
As many of you know, in order to cover general hotel convention costs such as meeting space and hotel services, we are required to have 80% occupancy at the Hyatt for our convention. If we do not reach that threshold, we will be required to pay a heavy penalty. We continue to support the Hyatt workers in their efforts for a just contract and working conditions and to urge Hyatt officials to respect Catholic social teaching on the dignity of workers; at the same time, we are not encouraging people to move to another hotel. We hope CLSA members will become aware of our efforts to address the workers concerns and that we will continue to do so. I will be making a more detailed report at the business meeting during the convention.
I hope this brief report will be helpful to you and assure you of our good faith efforts in this difficult situation and of our prayers that a satisfactory agreement that serves the common good of all can be found in a respectful and expeditious manner.
Sr. Sharon Euart, RSM
September 5, 2012