Labor board rejects Hyatt petition to hold union vote

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.”


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