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Hyatt Workers, Still Without A Contract, To Do Street Action Next Week; Conflict For President Obama

Unionized workers at Hyatt-owned Andaz in West Hollywood and the Hyatt in Century City have been without a contract since December, and next week they'll take to the streets at the Andaz in what is sure to be an entertaining labor demonstration.

The chief sticking points in the negotiations are health care and hours cut during the recession but not restored despite the recovery in business and leisure travel, said Leigh Shelton, spokeswoman for Unite Here Local 11, the hotel union. The union represents a bit more than 700 Hyatt workers, about 600 of them at the Century City Hyatt, though no doubt West Hollywood is a better venue for protest.

The union is negotiating on behalf of an additional 4,000 workers without a contract at other hotels around the city, and many of those are sure to show up. The hotel workers' union in recent years has become known for fierce loyalty and militancy.

Shelton took a shot at the Pritzkers, the Chicago heirs to the Hyatt fortune. "The recovery is coming back for the rich," she said, referencing the Pritzkers by name. "But we want a recovery for working people." The hotel chain is trying to lock in long-term "recession contracts" that won't allow workers to share in the recovery, she said.

We're awaiting a call back from Hyatt HQ in Chicago.

This creates yet another headache for the Obama administration. Penny Pritzker is a Chicago confidant, was Obama's finance chair and sits on a (presumably ceremonial) recovery board. But Unite Here was one of the first major unions to back Obama.

Have fun with that one, Mr. President.


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