UNITE HERE: Federal trial against Hyatt Regency Baltimore for labor charges begins today

Jan 14, 2013, 15:12 ET from UNITE HERE

Complaint issued by NLRB alleges unlawful firings, threats and surveillance of union supporters

BALTIMORE, Jan. 14, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- After issuing a complaint against the Hyatt Regency Baltimore for violating federal labor law, a trial has been scheduled between Hyatt workers and the company. The complaint issued by the General Counsel of the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) charges the company with unjust firings, threats and surveillance of union supporters. The trial begins today, January 14 at 9:00 a,m. at the NLRB Region 5 office (Bank of America Center-Tower II, 100 S. Charles Street).

Charges issued by the federal government resulted from an extensive investigation that began after Hyatt terminated several workers leading an effort to unionize the Hyatt Regency Baltimore this summer. Other workers reported in the investigation being surveilled by Hyatt management or threatened with arrest for leafleting. Hyatt was given an opportunity to present its own witnesses and documents. The federal agency is now prosecuting Hyatt, alleging a variety of unlawful activities, such as unjustly firing union supporters, threating workers with arrest for lawfully leafleting customers on Hyatt property, threatening workers for supporting the union, disciplining union supporters unjustly, and surveilling union activity.

"I am proud that so many of my co-workers have stepped forward to make sure Hyatt doesn't get away with breaking the law," said Mike Jones, Hyatt steward. "The Labor Board can't win this fight for us, but this trial is an important step in showing Hyatt that we won't give up until we win."

Several community leaders have spoken out in support of fired Hyatt workers, including President of the Baltimore Chapter NAACP Tessa Hill-Aston, President of the Metropolitan Baltimore AFL-CIO Ernie Greco, and Father Ty Hullinger, St. Anthony's de Padua.

These complaints add to a litany of controversies that have positioned Hyatt as the worst hotel employer in North America. Hyatt has been criticized for its abuse of housekeepers, aggressive subcontracting practices, and unjust firing of workers who have spoken out against mistreatment.

Workers at the Hyatt Regency Baltimore have been organizing since early June 2012. The majority of hotels in Baltimore are nonunion, and the effort by Hyatt Regency workers to organize is the first of its kind at that hotel in decades. City leaders hoped to revive the Baltimore economy by investing in the hospitality industry, and the Hyatt Regency was the first heavily-subsidized major hotel project in Baltimore. Sadly today, many jobs at the Hyatt are subcontracted to temp agencies paying workers poverty wages with no benefits.

UNITE HERE Local 7 represents workers in Baltimore's hospitality, food service, and gaming industries. Workers are available for interview. For more information, visit www.HyattHurts.org.