September 14 marked the final day of week-long strikes by UNITE HERE members at Hyatt hotels in Honolulu, Chicago, San Francisco, and Los Angeles, with each local union holding large actions with hundreds of workers on the picket lines.
In Los Angeles and Chicago, religious allies held special services to show their support; Chicago strikers were joined by AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka; and San Francisco Local 2 led a solidarity march.
The boycots have already cost Hyatt over USD 20 million in lost convention and meeting business, and more business pulled out of Hyatt hotels as a result of the strike. Members of the Association of Flight Attendants-CWA refused to cross picket lines and pulled business that has cost Hyatt between USD 150 – 200,000. Workers led more than 100 delegations to customers and community leaders during the week of the strike, resulting in an estimated one million dollars worth of lost business.
New allies have come forward to publicly endorse the Hyatt boycotts, including the Illinois Coalition of Immigrant and Refugee Rights-a statewide umbrella organization for nearly 150 immigrant advocacy organizations in Illinois. Hyatt workers are now redoubling their efforts to reach out to community leaders and build a growing network of nationwide groups nationwide to fight against abuses by Hyatt and secure an acceptable workload for housekeepers and an end to subcontracting in their hotels.
In addition to strong support from the AFL-CIO, the CWA and many other unions, many elected leaders, religious leaders and other community supporters walked the picket lines during the strike and led special events in support of Hyatt strikers. Organizations like American Rights at Work, Jobs With Justice, and United for a Fair Economy helped spread the word about the strike with e-mails from Hyatt housekeepers and other allies that reached over 200,000 people. In response, thousands took action, sending messages of solidarity to strikers and calling on Hyatt to stop imposing heavy workloads on housekeepers. UNITE HERE and striking Hyatt housekeepers also co-hosted a “Tweet Chat” with the feminist new media group Fem2.0 that reached over 100,000 people on Twitter in one hour.
“Our members stood their ground”, says UNITE HERE, “and showed that they are prepared to fight for the right to stand up for one another, union and non-union alike, wherever the company is abusing workers.
Click here to view a video of the last day of the strike.