Providence City Council Votes to Protect Against Hyatt-style Subcontracting
On October 1st, surrounded by 100+ supporters of the measure from UNITE HERE Local 217 and Jobs with Justice, Providence became the first city to act since the scandal provoked by the firing of the “Hyatt 100” in Boston. These 100 housekeepers were left with no jobs when three Boston Hyatt Hotels replaced them in with low-wage subcontractors.
The Providence City Council, taking the first of two required votes, voted unanimously to approve an ordinance to protect against Hyatt-style subcontracting in the Providence Convention Center District. The Hospitality Business Protection and Worker Retention Ordinance will require that hospitality businesses in the district retain employees for at least six months in the event of a sale or subcontract of the business and maintain the prevailing wage and health insurance standards.
Councilman Solomon introduced the legislation:
I am proud to be working to protect Providence workers from Hyatt-style layoffs. Our cities have invested massive public resources to build the tourism industry. In return tourism employers should provide good middle class jobs, whether at the Hyatt in Boston or the Convention Center District in Providence.
Prior to the City Council vote, Providence Hotel Workers, Councilman Solomon and community allies hosted a press conference to speak to the profound impact of the ordinance on the local Providence economy and its nation-wide impact as leaders in communities across the country look to prevent Hyatt-style displacement from disrupting their communities.
Housekeeper Carmen Castillo has been a Westin Room Attendant and member of UNITE HERE Local 217 for 15 years. “I am worried that the Westin could follow the Hyatt’s example. Then 100 families could be out on the street here, just like in Boston.” With her job at the Westin, she has been able to buy her own home on the South Side of Providence and put her 3 daughters through school. She could not have done this with the lower paying factory job she worked before starting at the Westin. Carmen suffers from chronic medical conditions, but she has health care coverage through her job at the Westin. “I don’t want to lose everything we have worked to build here.”