Housekeepers at three Hyatt hotels in Boston made over $15 an hour and had benefits like 401(k) retirement plans and health insurance. On August 31st, Hyatt laid them off en masse—after first having them train their replacements under the guise of creating a holiday fill-in staff—and turned the housekeeping duties over to an outside firm.
The new housekeepers are a lot cheaper than the ones who had been directly employed by Hyatt, notes The Boston Globe:
Janice Loux, the president of Unite Here Local 26 [which the Hyatt employees were not members of]… said the new workers will make $8 an hour and receive no benefits, based on information from a Hospitality Staffing Solutions employee. Staffing firm president Rick Holliday sent out an e-mail stating his employees made competitive wages but didn’t answer further questions.
We’re not really sure whether outsourced housekeeping will make much of a difference to the average consumer’s experience at a Boston Hyatt, but if you find things are all out of sync on your next visit—soap under the pillows, bedspread shoved on the towel rack—you’ll know why.
Update, September 18, 2009: A representative of Hyatt would like to add an official statement to this post that clarifies their position on this. Here ya go:
Due to the unprecedented economic environment, the Hyatt hotels in Boston – like businesses all over America – have had to make very difficult decisions to adjust costs in response to continuing declines in revenue. Unfortunately, these decisions have affected our associates at Boston-area properties. A restructuring of our housekeeping services included staff reductions that we deeply regret. We are providing the affected associates with assistance, including severance and outplacement counseling.
Hyatt is committed to treating our employees with honesty and respect. The Hyatt Boston properties have worked with Hospitality Staffing Solutions (HSS) for several years, with Hyatt and HSS employees working side by side on our housekeeping staffs. During this time, HSS has demonstrated that under our supervision it can provide excellent services, which deliver a level of quality consistent with Hyatt’s demanding standards.
Public Relations Manager
“A hard ending for housekeepers” [Boston.com] (Thanks to Chris!)