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Nine days after a hearing before an administrative law judge began, the Hyatt Regency Baltimore has settled with workers fired during a union organizing effort, reinstating two workers with back pay and giving a "fairly substantial settlement payment" to one who didn't want to come back to the Hyatt; a fourth had already been rehired.
The hotel also agreed to wipe out disciplinary actions taken against employees between June and January for arriving late by less than 10 minutes, "the disputed way in which they were enforcing a more stringent enforcement policy," Lingo said. The hotel also will post a statement on site that summarizes the allegations and employee rights, she said.
According to workers, Hyatt managers weren't exactly subtle about what was going on:
Philippeaux and others passed out union leaflets to co-workers. Soon after, he said, the same supervisor called him into an office.

"He said, 'That right there is a f— — up way of trying to get fired,'" said Philippeaux, who now works in Atlanta.

Handing out union leaflets is, of course, legally protected concerted activity; Hyatt, of course, says that's not why the workers were fired.

(Continue reading below the fold.)

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  • Janitors and security officers in the Twin Cities are preparing for a strike that could begin Feb. 9:
    Members of SEIU Local 26 clean and protect some of the Twin Cities’ largest office buildings that house some of the wealthiest corporations in the country, including Target, US Bank, and Wells Fargo. The contracts expired December 31, but after months of negotiations, employers are still unwilling to bargain in good faith.

    “The average full-time worker qualifies for public assistance due to low wages and a lack of affordable healthcare,” said Harrison Bullard, Vice President of Local 26. “When workers are forced to rely on public assistance because the rich, corporate elite don’t pay the cost of doing business, all of us end up paying more.”

  • Infographic: Almost 90% of restaurant workers don't have a single paid sick day to recover from illness, take care of a sick child, or care for a sick relative. Over 60% of restaurant workers report cooking, preparing, and serving food while sick.
  • Related, paid sick leave is a left wing proposal? I guess that makes the majority of Americans left wing, since it's a very popular idea. Not to mention we're in the middle of a flu epidemic showing why paid sick days are an important idea for public health.
  • And in Massachusetts, a rally was held to support a paid sick leave bill in the state legislature.
  • It's very rare you see education expert Diane Ravitch quite this excited. But she's raving about California Gov. Jerry Brown's State of the State address, in which he said "Equal treatment for children in unequal situations is not justice" and slammed testing-driven education.
  • The New York City Council passed a bill prohibiting discrimination against unemployed job-seekers by a veto-proof margin. Now if Speaker Christine Quinn would just bring sick leave to a vote ...
  • What are the chances former Massey Energy CEO Don Blankenship will do time for his role in the Upper Big Branch mine explosion?
  • Did you notice Barack Obama didn't mention unions in his inaugural address? Josh Eidelson did:
    But Obama’s celebration of collective action was also noteworthy for the proper nouns he didn’t name: Lowell. Pullman. Flint. Memphis. Delano. Obama’s speech celebrated feminist activism, civil rights activism, and LGBT activism, but didn’t mention labor activism. That’s a noteworthy omission, not an accident of alliteration.
  • City workers in Charlotte, North Carolina (the state with the lowest union density in the country) will get to have their union dues automatically deducted from their paychecks if they want.
  • If Mark Zuckerberg likes Chris Christie...what else does he like? New Jersey's rank as the fifth worst run state in the US? Christie's veto of marriage equality legislation? New Jersey's 9.6% unemployment rate? The 10,000 school employees and 2,200 police officers Christie laid off?

Originally posted to Daily Kos Labor on Sat Jan 26, 2013 at 10:55 AM PST.

Also republished by In Support of Labor and Unions and Daily Kos.

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Comment Preferences

  •  I am a bit concerned what Harkin's leaving (13+ / 0-)

    will mean for workers' rights in the Senate.  Although I am just to the south of Iowa (in Missouri) I have been pleased to see his work covered on the news.  I will miss him.

    •  Harkin has been THE champion of the ADA (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      annetteboardman, midwesterner

      he introduced them legislation to the Senate in 1989 as the Americans with Disabilities Act, and it has been the baseline for disability law in the US. His influence in the senate and in the party runs deep. 2014 is looking to be another transitional year for the senate...

      "There is power in speaking up. We know the face of unfettered gun proliferation. Now it’s time to see more faces of regulation and restraint." - Charles Blow

      by Beastly Fool on Sat Jan 26, 2013 at 12:09:01 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  sorry to be off message (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        but Harkin's retirement announcement threw me a bit. He's spoken for labor as well as for the disabled, and for the disenfranchised whenever he's seen the need. Labor is losing one of their best friends in congress with Harkin's leaving, and liberals are having one of their true elders retired. He was one of Paul Wellstone's best friends in the senate and set the bar many times for where the party ought to be going, instead of fudging so often to the center. Not perfect, but still carrying his liberal banner with pride...

        "There is power in speaking up. We know the face of unfettered gun proliferation. Now it’s time to see more faces of regulation and restraint." - Charles Blow

        by Beastly Fool on Sat Jan 26, 2013 at 12:17:37 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  An admirer of Tom Harkin.... (4+ / 0-)

      I am an admirer of Tom Harkin.

      Although it is hard to conceive of the US Senate becoming even more decadent and dysfunctional than it is now, it will be a lesser place when he departs.

      It is characteristic of Harkin's decency and good sense that he announces his retirement now, so that Iowa Democrats have ample time to select a candidate to succeed him.

  •  Yes, the President's focus was on (0+ / 0-)

    "We, the people" and a more perfect union, rather than ancillary organizations. Unions, like political parties, are superfluous, if citizens take matters into their own hands.

    To a certain extent, unions have balanced the influence of chambers of commerce and similar business interests, promoting candidates for public office that will serve special interests, rather than the needs of the whole community.
    Uniions have been exclusive in the sense of shutting certain populations out and keeping the trades in the "family." They have not done a really good job of filling the bench with new recruits.

    We organize governments to deliver services and prevent abuse.

    by hannah on Sat Jan 26, 2013 at 11:17:41 AM PST

  •  From the San Francisco Labor Council: (6+ / 0-)
    Whereas: Hyatt has refused the request by workers in several cities including San Francisco, Santa Clara, Indianapolis, San Antonio, Scottsdale and Long Beach for a fair process to select a union. The Grand Hyatt San Antonio settled an NLRB complaint which alleged that workers had been intimidated and retaliated against for participating in legally protected union activities...

    Be It Further Resolved: The San Francisco Labor Council will make affiliates, community allies and union members aware of the boycott and will ask them to make the pledge; and

    Be It Finally Resolved: The San Francisco Labor Council will picket, march, and mobilize in various ways to support workers wanting to form a union without employer intimidation and for a fair and just contract.

    Submitted by Ian Lewis, Unite Here 2, and unanimously adopted by the Executive Committee of the San Francisco Labor Council on December 3, 2012.

    Tim Paulson
    Executive Director

    Full resolution here (PDF)

    WE NEVER FORGET Our Labor Martyrs: a project to honor the men, women and children who lost their lives in Freedom's Cause. For Jan: USW Local Mourns Fallen Brother

    by JayRaye on Sat Jan 26, 2013 at 11:24:43 AM PST

  •  At jury selection this week (in California), (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Eyesbright, Sychotic1, DSPS owl

    the judge kept asking working class jurors if they had any accrued vacation time or sick leave they could use toward their jury service. I kept thinking, "Where will that leave them if they do become sick this year?"

  •  Merely the cost of doing business (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    midwesterner, Sychotic1

    The Hyatt settlement mirrors the longstanding practice of businesses blatantly violating worker's rights and the law, with the worst case scenario being subject to the pittance of fines or settling out of court.

    Grinding the workers and their "rights under the law" into dust remains the most cost effective means of maximizing profitability, and it will always be so until our government pursues violations with the same vigor it displays in protecting the ruling class on Wall Street.

    "extravagant advantage for the few, ultimately depresses the many." FDR

    by Jim R on Sat Jan 26, 2013 at 11:32:03 AM PST

  •  Hyatt management did not break the law in any (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Tinfoil Hat

    way, shape, or form.

    Unfortunately for them, they failed to follow the still functional and unbroken law.

    Too bad, so sad, bye bye.

    General rule:

    Best way not to have a union is to create a workplace environment (which encompasses things like wages, benefits, policies) that doesn't lead employees to seek a union's protection.

    While it might be sensible to consult with the folks over at Costco, I have a feeling the Hyatt folks would rather engage "union busters" .

    Costco, for those who don't know, is mostly non-union.  However, they do have old Price Club locations that are represented by the Teamsters.

    LG: You know what? You got spunk. MR: Well, Yes... LG: I hate spunk!

    by dinotrac on Sat Jan 26, 2013 at 11:32:09 AM PST

    •  Fact check, please.... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      The legal question of whether Hyatt managers in Baltimore broke the law was under consideration by the NLRB when this week's settlement was announced.

      That the case was "settled" between the parties does not exonerate Hyatt, or legally confirm the union's original complaint.

      The union -- UNITE HERE Local 27 -- is correct here. That Hyatt agreed to reinstate some workers and compensate others for unjust dismissal appears to be an extrajudicial admission of guilt.

      •  Read the words, Luke: (0+ / 0-)
        Unfortunately for them, they failed to follow the still functional and unbroken law.
        Do really need to put a snark tag on everything?

        LG: You know what? You got spunk. MR: Well, Yes... LG: I hate spunk!

        by dinotrac on Sat Jan 26, 2013 at 12:38:59 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  And if Hyatt (0+ / 0-)

        had fought on, when there's no Labor Board quorum to rule on the NLRB charges, the unfair labor practices against Hyatt would have stagnated for years and years before the charges were upheld.

        The NLRB process may have helped the Hyatt union, but all of the prior year's worth of pro-union NLRB decisions are all getting overturned, because the court overturned Obama's recess appointments of NLRB board members.

        Orly, it isn't evidence just because you downloaded it from the internet.

        by 6412093 on Sat Jan 26, 2013 at 12:53:01 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Thomas Pritzker, Hyatt Chairman (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Sychotic1, midwesterner

    Supported Obama in 2008, but was a Romney supporter this time around. Recently, he started up a consulting company to develop business opportunities in Iraq along with one of the Bush Administration's Iraq people.

    "I'll believe that corporations are people when I see Rick Perry execute one."

    by bink on Sat Jan 26, 2013 at 12:04:28 PM PST

    •  do not forget his cousin... (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      midwesterner, bink

      Penny Pritzker, Obama's Finance Chair in 2008 and at one time a leading candidate for Commerce Secretary.  NYT did a good piece a few months ago on the interesting relationship between Obama/Pritzker/labor

      And like everybody who's ever had enough, he wants more!

      by control on Sat Jan 26, 2013 at 01:28:04 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

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