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200 Protestors Arrested Outside Park Hyatt Hotel

By Anna Deem in News on Sep 26, 2009 9:30PM

Photo by chloeloe
Close to 200 union and hospitality workers were arrested on Thursday in front of the Park Hyatt Hotel while demonstrating their support for labor negotiations with major downtown hotels, and also showing solidarity for fired hotel employees in Boston. Those that were arrested decided to sit in the middle of Chicago Avenue as an act of civil disobedience. Almost 900 members of Unite Here Local1 participated in the protest, speaking up for the 6,000 downtown hotel workers that have worked without contracts since Aug. 31.

Susan Tynan, a server at the Park Hyatt and among those arrested, spoke to the Chicago Tribune about healthcare cuts hurting co-workers and their families. "[Getting arrested] is worth doing. So whatever the consequences are, I'm willing to take them," Tynan said after being released. In an official statement, Park Hyatt officials said they felt confident that they would reach a cordial agreement with the union, saying, "We respect the union's decision to gather today but believe the most productive place to address these important matters is at the negotiating table."

In addition to voicing their opinions about ongoing labor negotiations in Chicago, hotel employees also spoke up for the 98 non-union Boston-area housekeepers that were fired last month from Hyatt hotels and replaced with lower-paid subcontracted workers. Several of the fired employees attended the Chicago protest.