September 24, 2009

Gov. threatens hotel chain with boycott

Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick has threatened Hyatt hotels with a boycott after the company abruptly replaced 98 housekeepers with cheaper labor.

Many in Massachusetts were up in arms after an Aug. 31 newspaper article described three Hyatt hotels as firing $15-per-hour workers, some with 20 years experience at Hyatt, after they had trained their $8 per hour replacements.

The housekeepers said the hotel told them the cheaper workers were being trained to cover for vacations and other hard-to-fill shifts, The Boston Globe reported Thursday.

Patrick has since threatened to advise state workers to boycott the hotel chain. The National Employment Lawyers Association withdrew from a contract with the hotel to host a seminar next month.

In one letter to the hotel chain, Patrick said, "surely there is some way to retain the jobs for your housekeeping staffs "¦ rather than tossing them out unceremoniously to fend for themselves while the people they trained take their jobs at barely livable wages.''

The chain fired back its own salvo. General Manager of Hyatt Regency Boston Phil Stamm wrote a boycott directly threatens the 600 associates who work in Hyatt properties and who live and work in Massachusetts.