Update on the Boston Hyatt housekeeping story

Yesterday, we reported on a bit of controversy brewing in Boston where Hyatt hotels had reportedly fired all their housekeeping staff after “tricking” the staff to retrain their replacements without their knowledge.

As with most stories, there are two sides to this one, and we have asked Hyatt to clarify their position.

As it turns out, the original story may not have been entirely correct. Their entire statement is posted after the jump, but the bottom line is that the story of staff being tricked was not true.

Hyatt also made it clear that the current economic climate gave them no choice. The staff were given a severance package, and Hyatt extended their health benefits until the end of 2009. In addition to this, Hyatt will invest in retraining them.

Obviously, firing staff is never a thing any company wants to do, but the travel world has been hit harder than ever this year. When the only available options are to trim your workforce, or close an entire hotel, someone obviously had to make the tough choice. I’d like to thank Hyatt for providing the other side to this story.

Statement Regarding Boston Hotel Housekeeping Staff – 9.18.09

At Hyatt, we value and respect all our associates, care about the communities in which we operate and deeply regret whenever staff reductions are necessary. The difficult decision to outsource the housekeeping function at our Boston properties was made in response to the unprecedented economic challenges those hotels are facing in the current business environment. It was not made lightly.

A precipitous drop in revenues at our Boston hotels has made major cost cutting measures necessary. The decision to outsource the housekeeping function is the most recent in a long series of efforts to control costs. We have eliminated management positions at all three hotels, reduced staff in multiple departments and made significant cuts in sales, marketing and administrative budgets.

Though the business downturn has necessitated difficult decisions for us as it has for so many other employers, Hyatt always strives to treat its employees with care and consideration. Despite what has been reported, the hotels in Boston have treated their housekeepers with fairness and dignity. Press reports suggesting that we “tricked our associates into training their replacements” are absolutely false. The transition to contract housekeeping services was not sudden and secretive. In fact, the company providing housekeeping services to our Boston Hotels – Hospitality Staffing Solutions (HSS) – has been working with two of the three hotels for more than three years, with Hyatt and HSS employees working side‐by‐side every day. When the properties completed the transition to all contract personnel in housekeeping on August 31 approximately half of the housekeeping staff at two of the three Boston Hyatt Hotels were HSS employees.
We are providing resources and support to assist employees who have lost their jobs as they seek new employment.

  • The housekeepers were invited to apply for open positions at the three hotels, howeverthere are very few positions available due to economic conditions. They will continue to be welcome to apply for jobs at Hyatt hotels as positions become available.
  • We worked with local hotels and provided each housekeeper with current job openings.
  • We provided them with an Employee Assistance helpline, assisted them with benefit transition paperwork.
  • We provided severance benefits.

Because we have a longstanding relationship with HSS, we’re confident that HSS personnel working according to Hyatt standards can provide Hyatt‐quality housekeeping services.
The savings realized from these arrangements contribute significantly to the financial stability of our properties, which allows us to continue to provide services to our guests and enables Hyatt properties to continue to be major employers in the Boston area.

The HSS employees serving our properties in Boston are living in the area. They are not from outside of the community. So the notion that jobs were exported to somewhere outside of Boston is inaccurate.

Contrary to published reports, HSS does offer a wide range of benefits to its employees.
Hyatt properties continue to be significant employers in Massachusetts with approximately 600 employees.