Arrests made in Hyatt protests

It’s been a long few days for the Hyatt. An ongoing labor dispute between the hotel’s hospitality workers union and the Hyatt Corporation resulted in demonstrations outside the Grand Hyatt San Francisco hotel last week, which turned ugly fast.

San Francisco police department arrested 150 demonstrators after they blocked Stockton Street outside the San Francisco hotel. All arrested were cited and released, but the battle wages on.

San Francisco hospitality workers have been without a contract for nearly a year as union and hotel management continue to negotiate health care benefits, pension improvement, wage increases, and the right to organize without intimidation from employers.

From the hospitality workers union Unite-Here Local 2:

“The Hyatt Corporation has repeatedly said they want workers to pay hundreds of dollars per month for family medical,” Local 2 spokeswoman Riddhi Mehta told the Guardian. “Workers have sacrificed wages for decades to keep health care, to the point that their average income is $30,000 to $35,000 per year.”

From the Hyatt:.

“They are sitting on top of $35 million that could be used to help address the overall health care plan that hasn’t been addressed in 30 years,” Hyatt spokesman Peter Hillman told the Guardian. “If there is finger pointing on profits and all that, I would ask them why they haven’t opened up that?”

Hillman said management wants to renegotiate the health care portion of the contract, but that negotiations hadn’t reached the point to make specific demands for worker contributions to the plan. Mehta told the Guardian that $35 million is in a health and welfare trust fund specifically for emergencies, like earthquakes or lockouts in which union members aren’t working enough hours to get health benefits.

Seems neither party won the recent battle, but here’s hoping it gets resolved soon.

[via The San Francisco Bay Guardian]