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Latest News - March 2011

March 3, 2011
Hyatt Asks National Labor Relations Board to Allow Hotel Employees in California and Indiana to Vote on Union Representation
By: CHICAGO-( Business Wire)

Four Hyatt hotels in California and Indiana have filed petitions with the regional offices of the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), an independent federal agency that safeguards employees' rights, to determine through secret-ballot elections whether Hyatt associates want the labor union UniteHere as their bargaining representative.

The petitions seek NLRB-supervised secret-ballot elections at four non-union Hyatt hotels where, for more than two years, Hyatt associates have been subjected to intimidation and harassment by the labor union UniteHere in its attempts to organize.

As the NLRB considers whether elections should proceed, Hyatt is calling on the union to agree to secret-ballot elections in accordance with the NLRB’s standard rules and regulations. UniteHere itself has requested these federally supervised elections in nearly 300 other settings over the past five years.

“Associates at these hotels have been subjected to intrusive and coercive UniteHere tactics as part of an organizing campaign for more than two years, including unwelcome home visits by union leadership and calls for boycotts that cause financial hardship for our associates,” said Robb Webb, chief human resources officer, Hyatt Hotels Corporation. “Our associates are frustrated by these tactics and have told us they want a resolution to this matter. We’re urging UniteHere to get secret-ballot elections underway so that our associates can make the choice about union representation.”

“It’s clear that UniteHere’s activities – which include boycotts, pickets, demands for work rule changes, employee grievance filings and other intimidating actions at these properties – constitute a claim that they represent our associates. However, our associates have not had an opportunity to vote on union representation, which is why we are calling for secret-ballot elections – it’s time their voices are heard,” Webb said.

If the NLRB approves the requests, elections would be held within approximately 40 days at Hyatt at Fisherman’s Wharf in San Francisco, Hyatt Regency Santa Clara, Hyatt Regency Long Beach and Hyatt Regency Indianapolis.

In a number of locations where UniteHere already represents Hyatt associates, union leadership has delayed coming to the bargaining table in an attempt to pressure Hyatt into “card check” at the four California and Indiana hotels that have filed petitions. Card-check eliminates an employee’s right to a private vote.

“Many of our associates are union members, and we are proud of the great relationship we maintain with them,” Webb said. “Unfortunately, UniteHere leadership is engaging in an organizing tactic designed to increase union membership and dues at the expense of many union Hyatt associates who have been working without contracts for more than a year. By delaying contract negotiations for so long, UniteHere is using its own members as pawns in a national campaign to grow membership elsewhere rather than representing their best interests.”

“The law makes clear that our associates have the right to decide on representation in a government-supervised secret-ballot election with certain rules and parameters,” said Webb. “We believe that the democratic voting process administered by the NLRB for more than 75 years is the best way to assure that our associates’ voices are heard.”

The NLRB, established with the passage of the National Labor Relations Act in 1935, is the independent federal agency responsible for the scheduling and execution of private-sector elections to establish or dissolve union bargaining units.



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