Hyatt Regency Chicago Turns to YouTube to Break Union Stalemate

DARLENE GUDEA, PRESIDENT & HIL ANDERSON, SENIOR EDITOR
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Chicago, IL – Hyatt Hotels posted a message on YouTube aimed at restive members of an employees’ union that has urged meeting planners and trade show organizers to boycott their downtown Chicago properties. The video’s message to members of Unite Here! is that union leaders have been drawing out their negotiations in order to further their organizing efforts in other states and are ignoring what Hyatt considers to be a most generous offer. To view the video, go to http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KsCAu3DigBI

In the video titled, “Just the Facts,” the narrator stated, “We believe they are using you as  bargaining chips in a national agenda that has nothing to do with you, or us or Chicago.”

The video states that Hyatt has offered a 6% pay raise, generous health benefits and a $1,000 signing bonus for each employee. Union negotiators, the video stated, allowed the bonus offer to expire in December without bringing anything to a vote, and had not even scheduled new talks until February.

The video is a direct appeal to the employees of the Hyatt Regency Chicago to urge union leaders to bargain in good faith rather than drag out the process with tactics including noisy picket lines and calls for a boycott. While Unite Here! Members are not on strike, they have been working without a contract for 16 months.

Patrick Donelly, general manager of the Hyatt Regency Chicago, told Trade Show Executive, “For the past 16 months, Unite Here! Has engaged in a campaign of misinformation to our employees, community leaders and customers. We believe Unite Here’s! primary interest is not a fair contract for our Chicago associates but instead to institute card-check neutrality at Hyatt hotels in other cities.”  Donelly said Hyatt opposes card-check neutrality and supports its employees’ right to choose union representation in a democratic, secret ballot process supervised by appropriate government representatives.

Why did Hyatt turn to YouTube?  Donelly responded, “The video enabled Hyatt to communicate the truth to our associates and to emphasize that our primary goal is to obtain a fair contract that addresses the concerns of our employees. It also conveys that the only place we can achieve this is at the bargaining table.”

Hyatt’s video had nearly 600 views by early January and has been played on televisions in employee break rooms.

Unite Here! Local 1 denies it is urging meetings and trade shows to avoid Chicago altogether.

Donelly pointed out that the cancellations in his hotel have gone to non-union properties. “How does that help the cause?,” he asked.

Reach Patrick Donelly at (312) 239-4580 or patrick.donelly@hyatt.com