Hyatt housekeepers have a powerful new ally–the NFL Players Association. The NFLPA joins the growing ranks of supporters of the global Hyatt boycott, standings shoulder to shoulder (with many big shoulders indeed) with Hyatt housekeepers in their struggle to win fair treatment and safer working conditions.
On July 24, 2012, DeMaurice Smith, the Executive Director of the NFLPA, announced that he would call on NFL players, who he referred to as “big brothers” of Hyatt housekeepers, to not spend a dime in Hyatt hotels until they were treated with the dignity and respect they deserve.
Smith emphasized that NFL players know what it’s like to work in pain, and that they recently faced their own “speedup” when the owners wanted them to play an extra two games per season. He noted that only by joining together were the players able to defeat the owners’ proposal: “We’ve learned the same lessons that these housekeepers know. That if they stick together and fight for what’s right, they have a chance. If they try to fight by themselves, if they let a corporation divide them, it will be worse for everyone.”
Smith also mentioned that Doug Patrick, Hyatt’s Vice President of Human Resources, had sent him a letter urging the players to not endorse the boycott. Smith replied with a strong letter to Hyatt that outlines four questions regarding the company’s health and safety and subcontracting practices.
This is not the first time that the NFL players have stood with Hyatt workers. On Superbowl weekend in January, Smith addressed workers at the Hyatt Regency Indianapolis who have been fighting for years for a fair process to form a union. Like millions of others, he was in town for the Superbowl, but he told the Hyatt workers: “The proudest moment that I’ll have while I’m in this city is standing right here with you.”