Unite Here, the hotel workers union, said some of the supporters will include Executive Director of the NFL Players Association DeMaurice Smith, Indianapolis City Council President Maggie A. Lewis and Majority Leader Vernon Brown.
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The protest follows a major lawsuit filed in early January against 10 Indianapolis hotels, which includes the Hyatt, and an Atlanta-based staffing company, Hospitality Staffing Solutions (HSS). Lawyers representing hundreds of hotel workers filed the suit against HSS and the hotels for wages and hour violations. Plaintiffs said HSS operates in many hotels in downtown Indianapolis.
Following the lawsuit, Hyatt announced it would cut ties with HSS. However, Unite Here said the decision jeopardizes the jobs of 20 Hyatt employees, some who have worked there for several years. The workers union claimed Hyatt refused to hire the workers directly and said the hotel committed to only keeping their ties with HSS until the Super Bowl is over.
“I've worked at the Hyatt for over thirty years in housekeeping and I'm very proud to be welcoming Super Bowl visitors to Indianapolis. It is a celebration for our city,” said Jackie White, who works at the Hyatt Regency Indianapolis in the housekeeping department. “That said, I am concerned about what the legacy of the Super Bowl will be for Indianapolis hotel workers. The Hyatt will be making millions of dollars during the Super Bowl, and we deserve more for the hard work we do.”
“While the Super Bowl is generating millions for downtown hotels, Indianapolis hotel workers are living in poverty,” said Maggie A. Lewis, City Council President. “I stand with the Hyatt workers. Everyone deserves to be treated with dignity and have their work respected.”
The hotels named in the lawsuit include the Hyatt Regency, Hyatt Place Indianapolis Airport, the Indianapolis Marriott Downtown, JW Marriott, Westin Indianapolis, Conrad-Indianapolis, Embassy Suites, Canterbury Hotel of Indianapolis, Holiday Inn Indianapolis Airport and the Omni Severin Hotel