Taxi drivers to boycott Hyatt over firings
Union officials at the Boston Taxi Drivers Association said they faxed a letter to the Hyatt yesterday saying taxi drivers would boycott the Hyatt, refusing to service the hotel's Boston locations, unless the housekeepers the chain fired last month were rehired.
The union represents 1,700 taxi drivers, according to Arthur Rose, a union representative.
Similarly, the Eastern Sociological Society, a group of sociology professionals and scholars, said it would withdraw its business unless the chain reconsidered its actions.
The moves by the groups are a response to Hyatt's firing of 98 hotel workers -- many 20-plus year employees of the corporation -- earlier on Aug. 31, and replacing them with workers from a Georgia-based staffing company. In a front page story in the Globe on Sept. 17, the housekeepers claimed that they had to train their replacements and told that the staffing agency workers were only vacation replacements. The former staff housekeepers at the center of the Hyatt controversy -- mostly minority women -- made about $15 an hour or $26,000 a year.
Hyatt officials have said in an e-mail that they regretted the firings and had to make "very difficult decisions to adjust costs in response to continuing declines in revenues."
Criticism of the company has increased. Union activists have launched a "Save the Hyatt 100" site on Facebook. And on Tuesday, Gov. Deval Patrick thrust the issue into the national spotlight, taking the unusual step of threatening a government boycott of the hotel chain.