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A More Perfect Union?

Alicia Ramirez

aliciak2010@mac.com


Grand Hyatt workers, leaders from the Unite Here union and local activists came together to rally in support of the July 17 vote that could allow workers to seek union representations.

Hotel worker George Ibarra is confident that they will win the vote to unionize. “We’re a lot smarter than this hotel,” Ibarra said. “They have small pockets of anti-union people, but we have a majority of the workers.”

In a city that is not known for a strong union presence, this is seen as a huge step for the workers of the Grand Hyatt.

For housekeepers such as Maria Soto, they just want better working conditions and benefits. “I need respect and I want an affordable health insurance,” she said. “We can’t get sick, we can’t get injured, because then we’ll get fired.”

Soto works seven and a half hours per day, seven days a week, cleaning an average of 30 rooms each day with hardly any benefits.

“The only benefit I have right now is the bus pass,” she said. “After a year, we get a week off and six sick days.”

The rally involved music, food, water, a piñata of a housekeeper, and ended with a march to the Grand Hyatt from the Hemisfair Park arches.

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The Grand Hyatt has been accused of trying to coerce employees into not voting for the union, but the hotel denies these claims.

“Just as Hyatt strives to be the preferred hotel company for our guests, we also strive to provide great working conditions  and are committed to being the employer of choice among current and potential employees,” said managing director Tom Netting in a statement. “ Grand Hyatt San Antonio is pro-employee not anti-union. We support our employees’ right to choose whether or not they want to be represented by the union. We believe the best and most fair way for employees to make that decision free from improper coercion is through a secret ballot system.”

Workers will have their vote on July 17 and are hopeful that their desire for a union will be realized.

Posted by alicia ramirez on 7/9/2009 10:56:02 AM
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