Hotel housekeepers won a big battle this week in their ongoing struggle against Hyatt’s abusive practices. OSHA completed a year-long investigation that followed a complaint filed on behalf of 3,500 workers from eight different cities. The on the job injuries suffered by housekeepers was found to be severe enough for OSHA to issue its first ever Hazard Alert Letter in the hotel industry.
“For years, we have asked Hyatt to make simple changes that would ease the toll on our bodies,” said Maria Soto in a press release. Soto works as a housekeeper at the Grand Hyatt in San Antonio and has been injured cleaning rooms. “Now our voices are being heard, and the federal government is joining us in calling on Hyatt to make our jobs safer.”
The American Journal of Industrial Medicine examined 50 hotel properties from five different companies in 2010. It found Hyatt housekeepers had the highest rate of injuries compared to the four other companies. OSHA’s letter to the company seems to back up the study and the agency recommended the hotel chain implement a series of changes to their housekeeping policies. For years Hyatt housekeepers went without long-handled mops and had to clean the bathrooms on their hands and knees. Many of the Hyatt locations were recently renovated resulting in heavier mattresses and thus more straining for the workers. OSHA recommended Hyatt use fitted sheets in order to lessen the likelihood of harming one’s back.
“Two years ago, the Hyatt Regency renovated the hotel and brought in larger, heavier beds. It makes my job much more difficult. I can’t lift the mattress because my left arm feels like it’s coming out of socket. We are hard-working women, not machines,” said Angela Martinez, a Hyatt housekeeper with 23 years experience. Martinez made this comment to me last fall during a week-long strike at the downtown hotel.
In some complaints housekeepers tell of workdays consisting of 30 rooms to clean. That leaves just 15 minutes to fully clean a hotel room before the next guest arrives. I am currently in the midst of doing a decent amount to traveling and staying at hotels. This would not be the type of place I’d want to stay. I want a clean room and if that means spending more for the tools and time that the housekeeper needs then please do so.
Hyatt does not seem to care about the actual cleanliness for its guests. It just wants the appearance while caring more about the company’s bottom line. The hotel chain has pushed back against the study mentioned above and the complaints of its workers by stating. “The close association of housekeeping with routine life also raises difficult questions about causation. One’s injury is at least as likely to have occurred during non-work activities like sports, dancing or performing routine chores in one’s home.”
Martinez had this to say in regards to the OSHA action:
“We have asked again and again for Hyatt to ease our pain and to stop treating us like we are machines. We are still asked to clean the bathroom floors on our hands and knees. Now we’re so happy to hear that the government is standing with us and sending a message to Hyatt.”
Sounds spot on to me. In the meantime I will avoid Hyatt Hotels and encourage you to do the same.
© Aaron Krager 2008-2013 | Have any questions? Send me an email.