Hyatt isn't taking boycott threats lightly. In response to Mass. Governor Deval Patrick's call for a boycott of the hotels statewide, Hyatt responded today with a statement of its own.
In the statement, the hotelier stated that its action to fire almost 100 full-time housekeeping employees at the end of August was "in response to the unprecedented economic challenges those hotels are facing in the current business environment" and that they "have treated their housekeepers with fairness and dignity."
Phil Stamm, general manager of Hyatt Regency Boston argued that the potential boycott puts an additional 600 Hyatt positions in the state at risk. "We do not understand why the Governor is putting more Massachusetts jobs at risk instead of working with us to find jobs for employees affected by the realities of these unprecedented economic challenges," he said in a statement.
On Wednesday, Patrick publicly called for state employees to cease doing business with Hyatt until the fired workers were rehired, according to multiple reports. The proposed boycott is in response to Hyatt's decision to cut costs by replacing its housekeeping staff with outsourced employees from a Georgia cleaning company. Adding fuel to the fire was that some of the former employees had worked to onboard the new staffers, essentially training their own replacements.
"There's a right way and a wrong way to do things, and the way this was done is wrong," said Patrick after meeting with about 30 of the former employees, according to a news broadcast by NECN yesterday. "And listening to these stories and testimonials about what people experienced on the 31st with the Hyatt Hotels just underscores how wrong it was." Video of the coverage can be viewed at necn.com.
Hyatt maintains its employment decision and highlights a Sept 19 company statement, which announced Hyatt would provide unemployment assistance to the laid-off employees, including an invitation to apply for other positions at Hyatt, a listing of job openings at other local hotels, access to an Employee Assistance helpline and severance benefits.
An unofficial online petition was launched at hyattboycott.com in support of the boycott, which totaled 170 signatures as of this morning. The site, currently still under construction, features a blog and statements from politicians on the subject.
— Nielsen Business Media