Chicago’s Park Hyatt turns on heat lamps on picketing unionized employees

Ouch. Were there any worse time to stage an outdoor protest in Chicago it would be this week. The temperature has been surging past 95 degrees for the past three days, and terrified residents are darting from air conditioned homestead to transportation to office.

The union workers at Chicago’s Park Hyatt are taking a stand though, and on schedule were protesting over the course of this past Thursday. At issue? They’re concerned with Hyatt’s ability to contract non-union workers in the future — and by extension the security of their current jobs. You can read more about their grievances over at the Chicago Tribune.

Naturally the strike is all within the rights of the unionized workers and the Park Hyatt has to respect their space — except that they turned on the outdoor heat lamps during the protest. The move, blamed on one unruly manager, caught the attention of WBEZ yesterday morning, and since that time the hotel has been on the defensive, issuing the following statement.

“Hyatt regrets the events that occurred at the Park Hyatt Chicago and apologizes to everyone who was impacted by them. After looking into the incident, we have determined that the decision to turn on the heaters was made by a manager. It was clearly a decision that was not in line with our values or with our corporate policies. We have a long history of respecting our associates’ rights and caring about their well-being and this unacceptable behavior is certainly is not illustrative of that history. We can assure you that this was an isolated incident and such a thing will not happen again”

[flickr image via Michael Lehet]