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Thursday, September 24, 2009

Hot News: Massachusetts. gov tells state workers to shut out Hyatt


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Mass. gov tells state workers not to do business with Hyatt after housekeepers fired.
BOSTON (AP) -- Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick said Wednesday that he has instructed state employees to stop doing business with Hyatt hotels until it rehires 100 housekeepers it fired last month.

Hyatt Hotel Corp., citing declining revenues, laid off the Boston-area housekeepers and replaced them with lower-paid workers from a Georgia company.

In a letter to Hyatt, Patrick criticized the layoffs, citing reports that fired workers trained their replacements after being told they were vacation fill-ins.

He urged Hyatt to work with staffers, rather "than tossing them out unceremoniously."

Hyatt, in a statement, said that like many other businesses it has been forced to make difficult staffing decisions. The company said it offered the laid-off workers severance, counseling, retraining and health coverage to year's end.

Patrick met with about 30 of the workers at a union hall Wednesday night.

"I know these are tough economic times but there is a right way and a wrong way to do things and this was wrong," the governor said following the private meeting.

Serandou Kamara, 32, said she had worked five years at the hotel cleaning rooms and told Patrick how upset she was at the way she was let go.

"We are human beings. What they did to us was wrong," said Kamara, who has three children and is expecting a fourth.

Patrick acknowledged that his own administration has been forced to cut jobs due to a budget shortfall, but said he never misled state workers or asked them to train their replacements.

In its statement, Hyatt said the governor's threatened boycott of the hotel would endanger the livelihoods of 600 other employees who live and work in Massachusetts.

"We do not understand why the Governor is putting more Massachusetts jobs at risk instead of working with us to find jobs for employees affected by the realities of these unprecedented economic challenges," the company said.

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