22nd July 2011 @ 10:53am



In 100 degree weather, powerful heat lamps (normally used to melt snow on sidewalks) were shined on a Hyatt Hotel picket line. The heat lamps were turned off when the press showed up

The Park Hyatt at 800 N. Michigan Ave. was among the hotels where picketing was held, and at some point Thursday morning, someone turned on the outdoor heat lamps that are usually used in winter.

Combined with the outdoor air temperature, Linda Long says it was hotter than the Hyatt kitchen she’s worked in for eleven years.

“They put the heat lamps on us, like we were nothing,” Long said. “If the heat didn’t kill us, the heat lamps would.”

The heat lamps were turned off when the press showed up.

Gabriel Carrasquillo has been a server at Nomi Restaurant the Hyatt for five years. He says this is about subcontracting and farming out their jobs to cheaper workers.

“They’re telling us they’re meeting our needs for health insurance and salaries, but if we don’t have a job, it doesn’t matter how much they’re paying,” Carrasquillo said. “That’s why we’re still fighting.”

The union says the Boston Hyatt replaced 100 housekeepers with temps making minimum wage. That, they say, is what they’re fighting.

For those who don’t know: this kind of thing happens all the time. That is why comparing the political strength of labor unions to corporations is a red herring. Every small advance in respecting the human dignity of those without much individual power has to be won by fighting tooth and nail against businesses whose profit motive treats people as expendable. Labor unions are a vital check on the inherent incentive of business to grind down wages and working conditions, but they are also a vital check on the influence of business over the political process. And today, labor unions (particularly in the private sector) are on the brink of extinction.

I really hate what has happened to our country. Citizens are treated like shit by thugs who wield obscene power. If you’re not a billionaire with at least one congressperson in your pocket, you have no power at all. Viva la democracy!

(via jonathan-cunningham)

#chicago #this is our democracy #labor #union