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Rabbis Declare Hyatt ‘Not Kosher’

A group of 21 rabbis and other community faith leaders have declared several Hyatt hotels to be “not kosher” and have vowed to avoid the hotels until they provide decent wages and safe conditions for all their workers, expecially housekeepers.

Meanwhile, in California, pressure is building on the giant hotel chain to drop its opposition to legislation that would require companies to adopt a few common-sense practices to protect housekeepers from getting hurt.

The bill would require California hotels to provide housekeepers with fitted sheets (so housekeepers don’t have to lift 100-pound mattresses to tuck the bottom sheets underneath) and mops (so they don’t have to scrub bathroom floors by hand).

Take action. Click here to tell Hyatt: Stop opposing a bill that would keep your workers safe.

It is just this type of insensitivity to workers that prompted the rabbis say that Hyatt’s treatment of its workers as “not kosher.”  In a recent report, “Open the Gates of Justice,” the leaders describe a range of practices by Hyatt they found “contrary to the religious traditions we uphold.”  

While the term “kosher” most often refers to choosing food that has rabbinic supervision or that follows Jewish dietary restrictions, it can also refer to practices or institutions that are “unfit” in an ethical sense. By claiming that Hyatt’s hotels are not kosher, the rabbis are pronouncing the hotels “unfit” in an ethical and spiritual context and urging Jews to avoid contact with Hyatt.

“Hyatt once had a very respectable reputation,” says Rabbi Barbara Penzner of Boston. 

This report sheds light on the current truth: Hyatt not only treated the Boston workers unjustly, but they have a practice of oppressing their workers nationwide.

 The full report is available here. You can show yout support for the faith leaders’ statement here

UNITEHERE!, which is  assisting workers who want to form a union, says Hyatt is abusing housekeepers by cutting jobs, replacing experienced employees with minimum wage temporary workers and imposing dangerous workloads on the remaining housekeepers.

According to the union, housekeepers at some Hyatt hotels clean as many as 30 rooms a day, nearly double what is typically required at union hotels. This leaves room attendants as little as 15 minutes to clean a room, resulting in fewer jobs and dangerous working conditions for housekeepers.

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Barbara Penzner

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