Labor board rejects Hyatt petition to hold union vote

Back to TopCommentsE-mailPrintBookmark and Share

The National Labor Relations Board has rejected a petition filed by the Hyatt Regency Hotel Indianapolis requesting that Hyatt employees be given the chance to vote on whether they want to unionize, Hyatt said Monday morning in a press release.

Officials for the downtown hotel filed the petition earlier this month, asking the NLRB to hold a secret-ballot vote to determine if the workers want to unionize their ranks.

Unite Here, a New York-based labor union, has been trying to unionize employees at the Hyatt Regency, the Westin Indianapolis and the Sheraton Hotel & Suites at Keystone Crossing for more than two years.

Union officials, however, prefer a “card check” system, where the union must obtain cards signed by a majority of the hotel’s employees to unionize the workers. They say the card-check process gives union officials face-to-face time with employees to explain the issues.

Critics of the card-check system say it allows unions to intimidate those who don't want to unionize.

A Unite Here spokeswoman had referred to the Hyatt’s petition as a “publicity stunt.”

Hyatt is considering its options for seeking review of the NLRB decision and continues to call on Unite Here to end its boycotts, the hotel said.

Hyatt officials say the union has been especially aggressive in its organizing activities against Hyatt in recent months, even calling for a boycott of the hotel because it doesn't employ union workers.

“While it’s unusual for an employer to request an election, the option has existed at the NLRB for more than 75 years now, and we believe it is the best way in this case to bring an end to the boycotts, pickets, home visits, and aggressive outreach that has intimidated our associates, their families, and many of our guests,” said Robb Webb, chief human resources officer of Chicago-based Hyatt, in a prepared statement.

United Here claims housekeepers there make half as much as those in unionized hotels and are required to clean twice as many rooms on a daily basis.

But a server at the Hyatt’s Eagle’s Nest restaurant told IBJ earlier this month that 100 of 144 [hourly] workers have signed a petition requesting a secret ballot.

“A secret ballot protects us from intimidation from either side, the union or hotel management," Marion Gonzalez, a server at the Hyatt’s Eagle’s Nest restaurant, said. "That’s the way our president is elected, and that’s the way this vote should be taken.”



  • No Act Abolished Secret Ballots
    The EFCA would have allowed certification of union bargaining representatives in limited situations where 51% of employees sign cards supporting union representation. But secret ballot elections would have continued to be held in case where less than 50% signed such cards, but more than 30% signed. So the EFCA would not have done away with secret ballows, it would have supplemented the system of secret ballots. Also EFCA left untouched the secret ballow decert election process.
  • Pure Publicity Stunt!
    Hyatt's is a pure publicity stunt. The issue isn't whether Board representation elections should be secret, but whether an employer can file a petition triggering a secret ballot election under the National Labor Relations Act. Whether you like it or not, employers can't file such petitions. Why? Because the Act's plain wording precludes it. Section 9(c)(1)(A) clearly says "by an employee or group of employees or any individual or labor organization acting in their behalf alleging that a substantial number of employees (i) wish to be represented for collective bargaining" Under that plain wording, employers can't file petitions.

    What would have to happen for Hyatt to prevail? For the Board to rule for Hyatt, it would have to ignore the plain wording of the statute and 80 years of precedent, and administratively rewrite the statute to insert "employer" despite the legislatures omission of the term. To ignore plain satutory wording and precedent would assure being overturned on appeal. So even if the Board absurdly ruled for Hyatt, Hyatt would lose at the appellate court level. So, this was a publicity stunt, with nothing to do with secret ballots.
  • Why are you surprised?
    Given who's in the White House and what party they belong to; I'm certainly not. Just prior to the 2008 election - in May that year, in fact - the company I used to work for requested and got a secret ballot election (the union won, but that's a different story). I'd suggest the Hyatt appeal; there's certainly no reason for the NLRB to deny a secret ballot vote... the law that was supposed to eliminate secret ballots altogether failed to pass, IIRC.
  • Amen!
    FindIng it hard to believe and seriously UNDEMOCTRATIC that a private ballot box is not acceptable anymore! Seems like the NLRB doesn't believe individuals are smart enough to make decisions for themselves? Also seems to be another means of forced participation - NOT politically correct, YET, is it?!
  • Publicity Stunt or Democratic Process
    A secret ballot is not a "publicity stunt", it's part of the democratic process.

    Post a comment to this story

    We reserve the right to remove any post that we feel is obscene, profane, vulgar, racist, sexually explicit, abusive, or hateful.
    You are legally responsible for what you post and your anonymity is not guaranteed.
    Posts that insult, defame, threaten, harass or abuse other readers or people mentioned in IBJ editorial content are also subject to removal. Please respect the privacy of individuals and refrain from posting personal information.
    No solicitations, spamming or advertisements are allowed. Readers may post links to other informational websites that are relevant to the topic at hand, but please do not link to objectionable material.
    We may remove messages that are unrelated to the topic, encourage illegal activity, use all capital letters or are unreadable.

    Messages that are flagged by readers as objectionable will be reviewed and may or may not be removed. Please do not flag a post simply because you disagree with it.

    Sponsored by

    facebook - twitter on Facebook & Twitter

    Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ on Facebook:
    Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ's Tweets on these topics:
    Subscribe to IBJ
    1. Why should I a home owner pay for this"car sharing" ????

    2. By the way, the right to work law is intended to prevent forced union membership, not as a way to keep workers in bondage as you make it sound, Italiano. If union leadership would spend all of their funding on the workers, who they are supposed to be representing, instead of trying to buy political favor and living lavish lifestyles as a result of the forced membership, this law would never had been necessary.

    3. Unions once served a noble purpose before greed and apathy took over. Now most unions are just as bad or even worse than the ills they sought to correct. I don't believe I have seen a positive comment posted by you. If you don't like the way things are done here, why do you live here? It would seem a more liberal environment like New York or California would suit you better?

    4. just to clear it up... Straight No Chaser is an a capella group that formed at IU. They've toured nationally typically doing a capella arangements of everything from Old Songbook Standards to current hits on the radio.

    5. This surprises you? Mayor Marine pulled the same crap whenhe levered the assets of the water co up by half a billion $$$ then he created his GRAFTER PROGRAM called REBUILDINDY. That program did not do anything for the Ratepayors Water Infrastructure Assets except encumber them and FORCE invitable higher water and sewer rates on Ratepayors to cover debt coverage on the dough he stole FROM THE PUBLIC TRUST. The guy is morally bankrupt to the average taxpayer and Ratepayor.