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5199 E. Pacific Coast Hwy. #608
Post Office Box 15679
Long Beach California, 90815-0679
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Community News

Hyatt Hotel Workers Unionize

From Issue: Volume XXI - Number 8
4/19/2013


By Jeremy Matusow

By Jeremy Matusow

Employees at Hyatt The Pike Long Beach and the Hyatt Regency Hotel have chosen to unionize with Unite Here Local 11, which represents more that 20,000 workers employed in hotels, res-taurants, airports, sports arenas and convention centers throughout Southern California. This transpired six months after a ballot measure passed ordering the largest hotels in Long Beach to com-pensate employees with a higher minimum wage.

The decision concludes a lasting feud between the hotel and union. This will mark the first primary agreement since the November 2012 passing of Measure N, which dealt with hotel wages.

Mayor Bob Foster believes that the decision emphasizes human capital.

“I believe this demonstrates the long-term perspective that the Hyatt Corporation and their local team have for this city,” said Foster. “I applaud both sides for finding common ground and en-gaging in the collective bargaining process.”

Foster teamed up with executive secretary of the Los Angeles County Federation Maria Elena Durazo, general manager of Hyatt Regency Long Beach Stephen D’Agostino and Councilwoman Suja Lowenthal at City Hall to publicize the decision.
D’Agostino shared his take regarding Hyatt associates as well as what it means to be partnered with UNITE HERE.

“We’ve always maintained strong relations with our associates and unions representing Hyatt associates in other locations, and we’ve always believed Hyatt associates should have the right to choose union representation in an election,” said D’Agostino. “We look forward to working with UNITE HERE to reach a contract that will continue to support our associates and maintain our high workplace standards.”

According to the Los Angeles County Registar-Recorder, voters of Long Beach passed Measure N with about 64 percent of the vote, instituting a new minimum wage for hotel employees. The measure implements a minimum wage of $13 per hour for employees that work at hotels of 100 rooms or more. California’s current minimum wage is $8 per hour.

This living wage proposal will also implement a two percent annual increase in compensation despite economic conditions or job performance, five paid sick days per year as well as collecting 100 percent of guest service costs.

Durazo stated that the passing of Measure N allowed the UNITE HERE Local 11 and Hyatt Hotels to improve their relationship with one another.

“We are looking forward to the collective bargaining process that will lead to a fair agreement for both management and employees,” said Durazo. “We should acknowledge and reward em-ployers that do right by their employees and the community in which they live.”

For roughly 10 years, supporters of UNITE HERE had boycotted the hotel, promoted a labor peace agreement and filed lawsuits against them. In 2010, union members had filed charges against the hotel. However, in 2011, Hyatt fired back with a petition regarding the National Labor Relations Board against the union’s “harassment and intimidation” of hotel managers.

Durazo believes that the city and community of Long Beach will benefit greatly from this collective bargaining agreement.

“This community will be a greater community, Long Beach will be a far greater city, as a result of this collective bargaining process,” said Durazo. “The Long Beach model should be taken everywhere. This is how you do business, this is how you prosper, an entire community wins because of it.”

Lowenthal stated that this policy allowed voters to have a say in regards to this measure.

“This is not something that was imagined in a closed room, it was driven by the voters, and that is the best public policy,” said Lowenthal.

jeremy@longbeachcomber.com