The Weekend Picket Line at the Grand Hyatt Union Square was Very Loud and Disruptive

Oh boy, this was the loudest and most disruptive hotel picket line I’ve seen in San Francisco.  Now up at the wharf hotels, back in the day, you’d see a police presence and all sorts of rules about when and where strikers could march, how much noise they could make, etc.

But not at the Grand Hyatt, scene of recent filming for NBC’s horrible Trauma TV serial. From what I could see, it was totally wide open at the 72 hour strike that ended yesterday. Anything goes so anything went.

Click to expand:

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Steve Rhodes has 152 photos posted, but here are some more:

The protest was loud, loud, loud – kettle drum, tire iron on a iron skillet, megaphones with sirens. It was a circus.

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See that? All the bellhops and security agents had something in each of their ears – either radio speakers or earplugs. (That should keep Cal-OSHA happy.)

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Bang the drum slowly, but loudly:

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On and on they went…

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…chanting away:

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“Who’s got the power?
We got the power!
What kind of power?
Union power!”

The whole affair was national news. But Matier und Ross think that the Local 2 strikers have a weak hand to play.

Judge for yourself, after the jump.

To Be Continued…

For Immediate Release
November 5, 2009
Riddhi Mehta rmehta@unitehere2.org
707-695-2364
Ian Lewis ilewis@unitehere2.org
415-608-3875

Hotel Workers on Strike at Grand Hyatt in San Francisco

(November 5, 2009, San Francisco) — Hotel workers walked off the job this morning at the Grand Hyatt Union Square in San Francisco, announcing a 3-day strike against the property. The Grand Hyatt is owned and operated by Hyatt Hotels Corporation [NYSE:H], which today is conducting an initial public offering expected to raise close to $1 billion for its principal owners, the Pritzker family.

“Hyatt’s cashing out almost a billion dollars for its owners, but at the same time they’re pushing to make health care unaffordable for me and my family?” remarked Aurolyn Rush, a 13-year telephone operator at the Grand Hyatt. “That is unforgivable, and we’re not going to stand for it.”

The work stoppage comes two weeks after members of Unite Here Local 2 voted by over 92% to authorize strikes at any of 31 upscale hotel properties in San Francisco. Workers at the Grand Hyatt will return to work on Sunday, November 8, but have called for customers to honor an ongoing boycott at that property. Workers at other San Francisco hotels remain on the job, though job actions remain a possibility elsewhere.

“This is a limited strike,” said Mike Casey, president of Local 2. “It’s intended to send a clear signal to this corporation that they cannot use a temporary downturn to permanently drive down workers’ living standards.”

Despite amassing record profits over the preceding five years, hotel corporations in San Francisco and elsewhere have been using the economic downturn as an excuse to squeeze workers for long-term concessions. During the past two months, Local 2 has indicated an openness to reaching an exceptionally low-cost contract settlement, totaling as little as 1.5% increase in labor costs. Nonetheless, the industry has persisted in trying to win permanent takeaways in the areas of affordable health coverage and retiree coverage.

Hyatt has distinguished itself for its pursuit of profit at any price. In Boston, for example, Hyatt recently fired all housekeepers at its three non-union hotels, replacing them with outsourced workers paid about half of what the fired workers had earned. The company’s CEO, meanwhile, was paid $6.7 million in compensation in 2008, and its chairman received a bonus of $1.4 million.www.unitehere2.org.

Unite Here! Local 2 is the union of hotel and food service workers in San Francisco and San Mateo Counties. It represents about 12,000 workers in the hospitality industry. For more information, visit

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