RPT-Union begins one-week strike against Hyatt Hotels
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CHICAGO, Sept 8 (Reuters) - Workers at six Hyatt Hotels (H.N) launched a weeklong strike on Thursday demanding improved working conditions and job security, although the company said the hotels were operating normally.
The strike by some 3,000 housekeepers, bellhops and other staff who are members of the UniteHere union targeted two Hyatt hotels in Chicago and properties in San Francisco, Honolulu and Los Angeles, union spokeswoman Annmarie Strassel said.
Negotiators have agreed with Hyatt on wages and benefits, but not on union demands to reduce workloads, end subcontracting, and expand the right to support workers at other properties, Strassel said. The previous contract expired in August 2009.
Hyatt spokesman Farley Kern the hotels were operating normally and many workers have indicated to the company they are ready to settle. He said the union's action was part of a drive to expand its organizing effort to nonunion hotels.
"Many of our associates have told us today that they are supporting our efforts to reach a settlement," Kern said in a statement, urging the union to resolve differences at the negotiating table.
"We wish that the union leaders had settled these contracts, so our associates could have been spared a work stoppage that has nothing to do with their wages and benefits. We are anxious to award increases to our hard working employees," he said.
UniteHere previously signed contracts with Hilton and Starwood (HOT.N) hotels in Chicago.
Strassel said Hyatt had adopted a harder line than the other hoteliers and had previously engaged in subcontracting where minimum-wage workers replaced long-time staff. (Reporting by Andrew Stern)
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