Hyatt offers fired housekeepers jobs elsewhere
Hyatt Hotels Inc. responded today to public outcry and calls for a boycott of the hotel chain, saying it would offer housekeepers it fired new jobs through an outside staffing agency or retraining programs.
Company officials said the 98 housekeepers -- who were fired last month and replaced by employees of a staffing agency -- would be offered jobs in the Boston area through United Service Companies -- an outsourcing firm -- at other hotels in the city. Hyatt does not plan to rehire them to work at its own hotels, it said.
The employees would be offered retraining services through the Manpower company and Right Management, Hyatt officials said.
"We have gone to a lot of effort" to create the options, said Farley Kern, Hyatt's director of Brand Relations. "We feel that there were aspects of the original business decision that we didn't handle in a way that was consistent with our values and this is a way to address that."
Governor Deval Patrick said this week that he would direct state workers to boycott the hotel chain unless the workers were rehired. Kyle Sullivan, a spokesman for Patrick, said in statement, "The governor has spoken with local Hyatt management and worker representatives, and is reviewing the proposal. In the end he wants to ensure that this is a proposal the workers can depend on and feel is fair. Having been treated so unfairly, they are understandably hesitant
to trust any proposal short of restoring them their jobs."
Officials from Unite Here Local 26, a union that represents hotel workers -- but not the fired Hyatt employees -- were not satisfied by the offer.
"Hyatt’s latest proposal is simply a smokescreen designed to trick people in to thinking Hyatt is doing the right thing," union president Janice Loux said in a statement. "It does not provide the women with the one thing they really deserve. These women have made it clear that they want to be returned to the jobs they have held for years, and Hyatt’s PR scheme does not diminish their determination."
The Boston Taxi Drivers Association, which has threatened to boycott Hyatt, said it is reviewing the offer before deciding whether to go ahead with the boycott.
"What they're trying to do is take the easy way out and think that it will all go away and that we have short memories," said Donna Blythe-Shaw, a taxi drivers union representative.
"This is absolutley unacceptable," she added. "They are not going to bring these people back."
Kern said the housekeepers would be offered new full-time positions at the same rate of pay through the end of 2010. The company said it would also extend health care coverage for the workers until March 31, 2010.
In a a press release, Hyatt officials said they are meeting with the housekeepers to explain the options, answer their questions and "ease the transition."
Katie Johnston Chase of the Globe staff contributed to this report.