Sunday, September 27, 2009

200 Protesters Arrested Outside Park Hyatt

200 Protesters Arrested Outside Park Hyatt

By William Lee

Chicago Tribune

September 25, 2009,0,6192819.story


Chicago Union members were showing support for labor

negotiations and for housekeepers fired in Boston area

About 900 members of Unite Here Local 1 participated in

the Chicago demonstration, which also was intended to

show support for 98 workers fired from three Boston-area

Hyatt hotels. They were replaced with lower-paid

subcontracted workers.


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 Boston.


About 900 red-shirted members of Unite Here Local 1

participated in the demonstration outside the Park Hyatt

Chicago, 800 N. Michigan Ave. Those arrested sat in the

middle of Chicago Avenue as an act of civil

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

statement said.


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 Chicago protest.




Donations can be sent to the Baltimore Nonviolence Center, 325 E. 25th St., Baltimore, MD 21218.  Ph: 410-366-1637; Email: mobuszewski [at]


"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


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