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July 23, 2011

Hyatt West Hollywood Protest in Support of
Hotel Workers Fight for Justice


On Thursday, July 21, enthusiastic members and supporters (including Coalition for Economic Survival members) of UNITE HERE Local 11 gathered on the famous Sunset Strip outside of the Hyatt Andaz West Hollywood to show support for Hyatt workers, particularly the housekeepers.

Exactly one year ago, a similar protest took place seeking a new contract and protesting staff cuts and working conditions of workers. This demonstration denounced the unfair and abusive working conditions of the housekeepers.

"The world of housekeeping is invisible. Hyatt housekeepers suffer a lot of abuse on the job," said Leigh Shelton, a communications specialist with Unite Here Local 11. " They've gotten together all across the country to stand up, fight back and say they won't suffer in silence."


Hyatt has eliminated jobs, replaced career housekeepers with minimum wage temporary workers, and imposed dangerous workloads on those housekeepers who remain. Now housekeepers across the U.S. are standing up and speaking out.

Hotel housekeepers are the backbone of the hotel industry. The grittier aspects of their jobs—the work of scrubbing toilets, changing sheets, and encountering guests alone behind closed doors—are the foundations upon which an environment of luxury and comfort are built at the expense of the housekeeper. Through UNITE HERE, the union representing hotel and other hospitality workers across North America, housekeepers are stepping forward and breaking the silence about the many dangers they face at work.


Sunset Strip was closed down as Hyatt Housekeepers in a street theater skit demonstrated the how they are forced to change bed sheets under pressure to complete an unreasonable number of beds in a short period of time.

One of their demands to better their working conditions is for Hyatt to provide them with fitted sheets and mops. Union housekeepers say that with fitted sheets, they wouldn’t have to lift heavy mattresses. And, with mops, they wouldn’t have to scrub bathroom floors on their hands and knees. These conditions have resulted in many injuries and lost wages for the workers, as well as unacceptable humiliation.


In addition, in an act of peaceful civil disobedience, a number of people were arrested in order to dramatize the significance of this issue and the impact on workers.

UNITE HERE Local 11 is urging the Governor to sign SB 432 which will require hotels to provide housekeepers with long-handled mops in order to prevent workers from having to bend down to clean floors. It will also require hotels to provide fitted sheet to eliminate the need to lift mattresses while making beds. You can help by contacting the Governor to urge that he sign this important bill.



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