Sisters unite: Hyatt workers picket on International Women’s Day in San Francisco

16 March 2012 at 3:04 pm

About 80 protesters from a coalition of women workers staged a peaceful protest demanding that Hyatt reinstate two workers, Martha and Lorena Reyes, who were fired in October.

The Reyes sisters claim they were fired after Martha tore down photoshopped images of the sisters’ heads tacked onto the cartoon images of women’s bodies in bikinis. These images were displayed in their workplace, the Hyatt Santa Clara along with similar images of 70 fellow housekeepers. Hyatt has denied that tearing down the picture was the cause for the Reyes’ sisters’ termination.

The protest, planned for International Women’s Day, was also meant to draw attention to what the demonstrators see as widespread disregard for the health and safety of women workers at Hyatt, as well as an ongoing contract dispute between UNITE HERE and Hyatt hotels.

Demonstrators formed a picket line outside the Grand Hyatt Hotel at Union Square, chanting “women united will never be defeated.” The protest was accompanied by a creative project; a “clothesline” displaying more than 50 garments on which workers and allies had painted solidarity slogans.

“Women: 51 percent of world’s population, 70 percent of world’s poor, 66 percent of world’s workers, produce 50 percent of food, earn 10 percent of the income. Underpaid, underrated” ready one puff-painted t-shirt.

Groups such as Mujeres Unidas y Activas, the Day Labor Program, the Chinese Progressive Association, and Gabriela USA (an coalition advocating for the rights of Filipino women workers), and the Progressive Jewish Alliance represented at the rally.

Inspired by the large turn-out, which Labor Council representative Conny Ford called “a multi-generational, multi-ethnic group of community and labor,” UNITE HERE Local 2 decided to enter the Grand Hyatt in an attempt to meet with General Manager David Nadelman. He conceded, and spoke with a delegation of about 30 women.

In a polite and non-confrontational meeting, Nadelman listened as each woman in the delegation took a minute to tell her story.

In a debrief about the meeting that closed the rally, the group expressed uncertainty that Nadelman’s promise to help would be fruitful. Some suggested ramping up tactics in the future, and potentially demanding that Nadelman call the Hyatt Santa Clara and ask them to reinstate the Reyes’s.

The rally closed with chants of “we’ll be back.”

In an ongoing contract negotiation, the Hyatt wants to remove a part of the hotel workers’ contract that allows workers to vote on whether or not new hotels built in San Francisco or San Mateo will be unionized, on their terms.

Read the full story here


Entry filed under: 2012 03 08. Tags: .

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red women’s symbol with black continents


International Women's Day!March 8th, 2012
IWD is celebrated all over the world on 8th March

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