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(en) US, BAAM #33 of the Boston Anti-Authoritarian Movement - Update on Hyatt Workers + Letter from Appalachia

Date Wed, 14 Jul 2010 14:55:58 +0300

Update on Hyatt Workers By Jones ---- On August 31st of 2009, Hyatt hotels in Boston fired 98 employees in the housekeeping department. Upon termination, bosses gave workers “Severance Package” of two weeks pay plus one week’s pay for the first five years an employee worked with Hyatt. On the way out the door they asked them to hand in their nametags. ---- Since then, Hyatt has displayed other typical corporate manifestations of greed, e.g. making workers train their replacements under the bullshit pretense that their trainees were to cover for them when they went on vacation. Another typical capitalist maneuver was Hyatt’s cutting off healthcare to workers’ dependents, despite telling workers they would remain covered. It was only when their children required medical attention that workers learned they must pay out of pocket.

Some terminated workers were rehired at
the new rate. These same employees who
had been getting paid $15 and $16 an hour
are now getting paid the minimum wage of
$8 an hour. Heaping on the insults, Hyatt now
requires them to clean twice as many rooms
in the same amount of time.
Last September, Governor Patrick told
state employees to boycott Hyatt un-
til the workers were re-hired. State En-
ergy Commissioner Phil Giudice recently
defied the governor by co-chairing an
energy-efficiency summit at the Hyatt.
In the latest news: Cambridge city council
passed a measure that will refuse innkeeper
licensure to all area hotels attempting to out-
source their housekeeping services. At this
writing, the measure has to muster with city
lawyers and the Licensing Commission. Suf-
folk University has announced that they are
pulling their contracts with Boston Hyatt
where they have been housing students for
the past two years.

Hyatt’s defense has been to blame the econ-
omy. They further threaten their other em-
ployees by saying on their web page, “Calls
for a boycott help no one. A boycott will not
restore the lost jobs and puts Hyatt’s current
employees at risk. It also tarnishes the city’s
draw as a tourist destination and jeopardizes
city and state tax revenues.” They blame local
unions for furthering the issue.
Hyatt has lost over $2 million in the past
year due to various protests and the public
outcry opposing their corrupt practices. Only
time will tell if public opinion has any effect
on Hyatt. However, the Hyatt in Downtown
Crossing has been sold to the Chesapeake
Lodging Trust, though Hyatt will continue to
manage it; the Trust thus inherits the Hyatt’s
tarnished reputation.

Letter from Appalachia

Dear Alysha and Deirdre,
That was a wonderfully written article
on natural gas fracking and capitalism at
its worst. [See BAAM #32] My wife and I
thoroughly enjoyed “BAAM!” Thank you so
much for the two copies sent. Keep up the good
work!! Your newspaper is sadly needed in
this new world of media uniformity and spin.
You couldn’t have been more spot-on in
your article! Your future as writers is very,
very promising! My dad was raised dirt poor
in the Pennsylvania hard coal belt. The coal
was hard and so was much of their lives. My
dad slept in a company-owned house at the
base of the bed smelling his three older broth-
ers’ sooty feet. And too often they lived on
credit provided by the company and its store.
My dad’s first recollection of going to
school was getting on a bus which hauled
kids to school and miners to work. One old
miner, probably only 50 or so, was getting on
the bus and spit up blood and lung. The poor
gentleman ravaged by black lung! As dad
grew older he discovered many of the min-
ers didn’t fear death but looked at it as a wel-
come relief. My grandfather started working
in the mines at 8 years old. He was severely
whipped with a mule whip for not sorting the
rock fragments from the coal at breakneck
pace. He was a “breaker boy” and had to lean
over 12 hours a day 6 days a week. My great
uncle John, 6’4” and full of muscles grapped
the mine for men who whipped my granddad.
He grabbed him and with one hand clasped
his ankles together, holding him inverted he
carried that sadistic S.O.B. all the way up to
the top of the breaker and held him out, let-
ting him gaze down 10 stories and gently tell-
ing him if you ever whip my granddad or any
of the breaker boys this will be your demise.
Great Uncle John couldn’t read and could
barely write. He once carried a dead mule
weighing roughly 800lbs several blocks since
he could write the name of that street on his
simple police report.
In the end the coal companies promised
riches and happiness and gave untold misery.
The area busted and till this day it is sadly
quite a mess. Why will this have to be repeat-
ed in poor Pennsylvania? Why do the men in
their 10 gallon Texan hats have to get their
way? For the documentary my wife and I are
making which will be called either Frack ‘Em,
We’ve Been Fracked, or All Fracked Up, is
there any chance we could get the glorious
footage of CEO McClendon being run out
of Harvard on a rail? Wonderful work, folks,
you are truly an inspiration!! We want to show
the footage in our movie and will send you
a copy when done, some time this summer.
You are a great writer and as the old saying
goes, the ink in your pen is more powerful
than the blood of 10,000 warriors.”
Very Respectfully yours,
Pulteney Highlands Farm/Flea Market
Jeff & Jodi and Andrysick
P.S. Many of my relatives died of black
lung. Who will be there for the gas-drilling
workers when Radium 226 replaces the cal-
cium in their bones, causing cancer? As my
old uncle Ben used to say, who was nearly
killed in a cave in while robbing pillars to
pay Paul, “they push down, we push up; it’s
who’s got the most push.” Robbing pillars is
the most dangerous form of mining and paid
a little better. You remove the remaining pil-
lars which hold up the mountain, stopping
occasionally to hear the mountains’ moans.
My old uncle Ben used to also say, “the
mine owners lived in Hollywood, extracting
fortunes while we extracted coal headaches,
backaches, black lung, brutal misery, and if
lucky a quick death.”
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