200 Protesters Arrested
By William Lee
September 25, 2009
negotiations and for housekeepers fired in
About 900 members of Unite Here Local 1 participated in
show support for 98 workers fired from three Boston-area
Hyatt hotels. They were replaced with lower-paid
About 200 union and hospitality workers were arrested
Thursday afternoon as they demonstrated their support
for ongoing labor negotiations with major downtown
hotels and to show solidarity with fired hotel workers in
About 900 red-shirted members of Unite Here Local 1
participated in the demonstration outside the Park Hyatt
disobedience. Despite the large number of arrests, the
demonstration had no major dust-ups, police said.
About 6,000 downtown hotel workers have worked without a
contract since Aug. 31.
"Workers are angry because they feel like [the hotels]
are using the economy as an excuse to hurt them, to have
layoffs, to cut hours, to push people out of their
benefits [and] to roll back their benefits," Unite Here
spokeswoman Annemarie Strassel said.
In a statement, Hyatt officials said they were confident
they would reach an amicable agreement with the union.
"We respect the union's decision to gather today but
believe the most productive place to address these
important matters is at the negotiating table," the
Park Hyatt server Susan Tynan, a union negotiator and
among those arrested, said cuts in health care could
drastically hurt co-workers and their families.
"[Getting arrested] is worth doing. So whatever the
consequences are, I'm willing to take them," Tynan said
in a telephone interview shortly after being released.
The protest also was a show of support for 98 non-union
housekeepers fired from three Boston-area Hyatt hotels
and replaced with lower-paid subcontracted workers Aug.
31. The firings led Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick to
threaten having state workers boycott the hotels when
conducting business unless the fired workers were
rehired. Some of those housekeepers attended the
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"The master class has always declared the wars; the subject class has always fought the battles. The master class has had all to gain and nothing to lose, while the subject class has had nothing to gain and everything to lose--especially their lives." Eugene Victor Debs