The 80,000 associates who work in our hotels serve as the front-line in offering our guests an authentic Hyatt experience. And since they play such an important role, we have a responsibility to listen to them and take action when we hear their concerns.
Today, we are taking action on behalf of associates in four non-union Hyatt properties who have told us they are frustrated by the labor union UniteHere. In Santa Clara, Long Beach, Indianapolis and San Francisco, we have filed petitions with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) – the federal agency that supervises labor matters – to hold secret-ballot elections so our associates can decide if they want to be represented by UniteHere.
Our associates in these properties have been subjected – for more than two years – to aggressive union intimidation and harassment with UniteHere acting as if it represents them. Yet, our associates have not yet had an opportunity to determine whether they even want to be represented by UniteHere.
Our associates have told us they are tired of UniteHere's boycotts, pickets, demands for work rule changes, employee grievance filings, and other intimidating actions. They have endured home visits and phone calls from UniteHere representatives, who even show up while our associates shop for groceries. And the boycotts and calls to our customers to cancel reservations hurt most the people UniteHere claims to represent – our associates. Cancelled business hits them right in the pocketbook.
UniteHere's actions are aimed at increasing membership and collecting more dues by imposing union membership without an election. UniteHere is even stalling contract talks in other markets like Chicago and San Francisco where our union associates are waiting for an agreement – to pressure Hyatt into accepting a process that would impose unionization without giving associates the right to make their wishes known in a secret-ballot, federally supervised election.
This process, called card check, eliminates an employee's right to a private vote – similar to the kind of private vote we all enjoy when voting for our elected officials. Under the card check process UniteHere advocates, if a union can convince a majority of employees to sign a card in public, then the employees lose the right to a secret-ballot vote – even if they want one. By forcing workers to sign cards in public – instead of vote in private – card check opens the door to intimidation and coercion.
UniteHere itself has requested these federally supervised elections in nearly 300 other settings over the past five years, and we believe they should allow elections to move forward in this case too. We will respect whatever decision our associates make in a secret-ballot election free from intimidation.
We are committed to providing a great workplace for our associates – whether they are represented by a union or not – so that we can provide a memorable experience for our guests each time they visit one of our hotels. We hope that you will support our efforts to provide our associates the rights and protections long afforded by secret-ballot elections.