On Super Bowl Weekend, NFL Players Association Director Joins UNITE HERE and Hundreds of Others Protesting Hyatt's Subcontracting Abuses

Feb 03, 2012, 10:23 ET from UNITE HERE

INDIANAPOLIS, Feb. 3, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Hundreds of hotel workers and supporters, including DeMaurice Smith, Executive Director of the NFL Players Association, Indianapolis City Council President Maggie A. Lewis, and Majority Leader Vernon Brown, are taking part in a protest outside the Hyatt Regency Indianapolis just 48 hours before Super Bowl kick-off. Protestors are rallying to show solidarity with Hyatt workers and to demand that Hyatt end its abuse of subcontracted workers by hiring outsourced workers directly.

The protest comes amid a major lawsuit controversy involving Hyatt and its subcontractor Hospitality Staffing Solutions (HSS).  Just ten days after area hotel workers filed a federal lawsuit alleging wage and hour violations against HSS and ten downtown hotels, including the Hyatt Regency Indianapolis, Hyatt announced that it would cut ties with the subcontractor, Hospitality Staffing Solutions (HSS).  Its decision jeopardizes the jobs of twenty people now working at Hyatt. Some of the impacted hotel workers have worked for five to nine years as full-time employees. Thus far, Hyatt has refused to hire the workers directly, committing only to keeping the agency until the Super Bowl is over (Feb. 8).

While the Hyatt is slated to make millions of dollars the week of the Super Bowl, hotel workers are among the lowest paid in the nation. Hyatt room rates are expected to be over $1,000 per night. Yet workers there make poverty wages and now some are being told after the Super Bowl they may not have a job when the tourists have come and gone.

"I've worked at the Hyatt for over thirty years in housekeeping and I'm very proud to be welcoming Super Bowl visitors to Indianapolis. It is a celebration for our city," says Jackie White, who works at the Hyatt Regency Indianapolis in the housekeeping department.  "That said, I am concerned about what the legacy of the Super Bowl will be for Indianapolis hotel workers. The Hyatt will be making millions of dollars during the Super Bowl, and we deserve more for the hard work we do."

"While the Super Bowl is generating millions for downtown hotels, Indianapolis hotel workers are living in poverty," said Maggie A. Lewis, City Council President. "I stand with the Hyatt workers. Everyone deserves to be treated with dignity and have their work respected."

This is not the first time that Hyatt's ties to the subcontractor HSS have sparked controversy. On August 31, 2009, Hyatt fired its entire housekeeping staff at three non-union hotels in the Boston area, replacing women who had worked at Hyatt for decades with workers from a temporary agency.  Many of the fired workers report that Hyatt required that they train their replacements.  Their replacements now earn minimum wage and clean as many as 30 rooms a day.  Few if any of the subcontracted workers receive health insurance.