Denver Direct: March 2012

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Hotel workers get contract back

By Dave Felice

Employees of the Hyatt Regency hotel in Denver celebrate their Unite HERE Local 14 union contract 
with their clerical representatives, Daniel Klawitter (center left) and Aaron McEmrys (center right).
Employees at the only hotel in Colorado
with a union workforce are celebrating restoration of their
collective bargaining agreement. With help from several advocates on
the Denver City Council, employees at the city-owned Hyatt Regency
now have a contract running until 2013.
In January 2011, members of Unite HERE
Local 14 workers were shocked to learn that because of what was
termed a “legal technicality,” Hyatt would no longer recognize
the union as the exclusive bargaining agent. The contract has
finally been reinstated after a year of negotiations.
On Tuesday, March 20, Unite HERE Local
14 gathered at Emily Griffith Opportunity School to
observe the contract restoration success. City Council members Chris
Nevitt, Paul Lopez, Susan Shepherd, Robin Kneich, and Debbie Ortega
joined the observance.
Unite HERE Local 14 has been successful
in reducing the housekeeping work load at the hotel, as well as
securing affordable health care and better wages for the hotel staff.
Around the country, labor supporters
criticize Hyatt for mistreatment, disparagement, and mistreatment of
Workers in the San Francisco area
rallied on International Women’s Day, March 9, to protest the
firing of two women at the Hyatt Hotel in Santa Clara.

This story is reported exclusively by
Denver Direct. The home delivery newspaper does not carry the story.
Critics claim management of The Denver Post has a strong bias
against organized labor.

Update: “Both sides are to be commended for the peaceful settlement of the labor dispute at the Hyatt.  This strong and diverse workforce stayed united and focused on their goal of seeing the contract honored, and after a long period, the Hyatt finally agreed with City Councilmembers that it was in the best interests of the City and the Hotel to honor their contract and avoid an unnecessary legal battle.  I commend them for doing so.” Councilwoman Robin Kniech.