WEST HOLLYWOOD—On Thursday, September 2, Hyatt workers at the Andaz on Sunset went on strike.  Members of Unite Here, which is a coalition representing workers in a broad range of fields from Airports to Laundry, Food Service and Hospitality, took part in the protest against the Hotel chain’s treatment of its workers.

Union members continue to cite the growing sense of discontent, as a result of staff cuts and hour reductions, as the motive for the previous protests and this strike.  In a press release issued on Thursday by Unite Here, the group says, “Hotel workers have endured months of chronic under-staffing and excessive injury rates.  Now Hyatt wants to take more away and lock workers into recession contracts even as the economy rebounds.  While many hotel workers live in poverty, the Pritzker Family cashed out over $900 million in their sale of Hyatt shares in November 2009.”

The Pritzker family are the owners of the Hyatt chain and have been the target of the many demonstrations against the company, which have taken place nationally throughout the summer. Like the majority of resorts nationwide, the Hyatt Hotels have experienced the recession. Staff cuts and hour reductions have been associated with the slowing business.

Protesters were on-site outside the hotel at 4 a.m. with plans to stay through the night until 10 p.m. Supporters continued to flow in to take on shifts and provide relief while members of other city unions took part as well, including people from the Bus Drivers union and the Carwasheros.  Almost all of the union employees at the West Hollywood Hyatt took part in the protest as the hotel attempted to carry on business as usual.

Brad Bowan, a concierge at the Andaz who was present at the strike on Thursday, spoke with Canyon News.  Working with the company for almost three years, Bowan recounts his experience of what the workers cite as ill-treatment by the company during these recessionary times.  As a concierge, Bowan has seen his duties multiply as the company cuts shifts and reduces hours, but has not been compensated as a result.  As he sees it, Hyatt has “run workers into the groundbacks broken” and cut jobs at a time “when Americans need jobs the most.”

Hotel owners continue to express their desire to meet union members at the negotiation table and sort out the dispute; however, Union members are still dissatisfied with the results. Specific plans for future protests are unknown at this time as contract negotiations carry on and both parties continue to try to find some sort of middle ground.