NWRPCA Response to UniteHere
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NWRPCA Letter to Members June 22, 2015

 

Dear NWRPCA, CHAMPS and WCN Member Executive Director/CEO:

 

This year, we will host our annual Fall Primary Care Conference at the Hyatt at Olive 8 in Seattle, WA, October 17-20, 2015. (Read Fall Conference 2015 event details on the NWRPCA calendar here.) A large national labor union called UniteHere is seeking to organize workers at this particular hotel, as well as others around the country. The union alleges a dispute between management and labor and has asked for a boycott of this hotel. Consequently, UniteHere Local 8, not Hyatt employees, is running a boycott of the Hyatt at Olive 8 and a secondary boycott of NWRPCA. You might hear from this organization because you are associated with NWRPCA, CHAMPS, WCN and/or the Fall Conference.

 

NWRPCA, CHAMPS and WCN support the workers' right to choose. To date, Hyatt at Olive 8 employees have chosen not to unionize at the Hyatt at Olive 8. According to the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB): “To start the election process, a petition must be filed with the nearest NLRB Regional Office showing interest in the union (or interest in decertifying the union) from at least 30% of employees.”  In the nearly two years since the push for a boycott began, the NLRB has not received a petition from Hyatt at Olive 8 employees to unionize. We at NWRPCA, CHAMPS and WCN recognize that federal labor law provides the legal mechanism to enforce the rights of employees to organize, should they choose to do so. It is important to note that since the Hyatt employees have not voted to unionize, there are no Hyatt employees on strike; the boycott is an effort by a union, not by the employees of Hyatt at Olive 8.

 

Further, there are no worker complaints listed with OSHA. NWRPCA’s informal conversations with Hyatt at Olive 8 employees at the Spring ’14 Conference revealed no maltreatment. Our boycotting the hotel, we’ve concluded, would serve no purpose consistent with our mission, and feel we would actually be hurting those workers by taking work away from them.

 

You might be contacted by UniteHere and asked not to support the conference. NWRPCA, CHAMPS and WCN respect any decision you make.

 

Please know that we’ve investigated this matter, including seeking legal counsel. We fully intend to honor our contractual obligation to the Hyatt at Olive 8 and to carry on with a conference that serves our members well. We hope those who have supported us in the past will recognize that our mission concerns equity and that we are making concerted efforts to guarantee we continue to be true to our mission. We look forward to a superb conference in October, as we celebrate the on-going fulfillment of the Affordable Care Act and the promise of better health, wellness and well-being for all.

 

Should you need more information, please email tbowman@nwrpca.org, bgray@nwrpca.org, or julie@champsonline.org.

 

 

Hyatt at Olive 8 and UniteHere Frequently Asked Questions

 

 Northwest Regional Primary Care Association (NWRPCA), in partnership with Community Health Association of Mountain/Plains States (CHAMPS) and Western Clinicians Network (WCN), will host their annual Fall Primary Care Conference October 17-20, 2015, at the Hyatt at Olive 8 in Seattle, WA. PCA Staff and NWRPCA and CHAMPS members and associates have been contacted by a labor organization regarding alleged labor issues at the hotel.

 

This document provides information for interested parties.
You can also download these FAQs as a PDF here.

 

What is the nature of the situation at the Hyatt at Olive 8?  

A large national labor union has been working to organize the employees of the Hyatt at Olive 8. The union claims that there are labor issues at the hotel and is holding a boycott of this hotel. Employees at the Hyatt at Olive 8 are not on strike. The Federal Labor Law allows a union to call for a secret-ballot election for employees to unionize if at least 30% of the workers want an election. To date, no election petition related to Hyatt at Olive 8 has been filed with the National Labor Relations Board, which oversees the process of unionization.

 

Are the hotel workers at Hyatt at Olive 8 on strike?

No. The Hyatt at Olive 8 is not currently unionized, there is no strike taking place, and there is no work stoppage at the hotel.

 

Does NWRPCA, CHAMPS, or WCN have a role or position in this situation?

We recognize that federal labor law provides the legal mechanism to enforce the rights of employees to organize, should they choose to do so, and we support the legal rights of the union and of employees.

 

What has NWRPCA learned about the treatment of workers by the Hyatt at Olive 8?

According to the union, “Workers and supporters report difficult working conditions and use of subcontracted workers.” NWRPCA has posted on its website a May 6, 2015 letter from Hyatt at Olive 8 responding to these and other UniteHere allegations. There have been no industrial accidents or near misses since 2009, and the hotel received the Occupational Excellence Achievement Award from the National Safety Council in 2013 and 2014. In 2014 Housekeeping employee turnover at Hyatt at Olive 8 was 1.9%; the US industry average was 29.3%.

 

The Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA) gives employees the right to anonymously file complaints regarding worker mistreatment and request an OSHA investigation if they believe there is a serious hazard or the employer is not adhering to OSHA standards. There have been no OSHA inspections at the Hyatt hotels in Seattle in the last five years.

Please see the letter from the Hyatt at Olive 8, which can be downloaded here, for more information about Hyatt at Olive 8 labor policies and practices.

 

How will the conference be affected?

NWRPCA, CHAMPS, and WCN will continue to provide high-quality sessions and trainings at the Fall Primary Care Conference, and the conference will take place as scheduled October 17-20, 2015 at the Hyatt at Olive 8.

 

What if I am contacted by the union about this call for a boycott?

Anyone associated with NWRPCA, CHAMPS, WCN or the conference may be contacted by the union. Please feel free to notify NWRPCA if you are contacted by union representatives and/or if you have additional questions or concerns regarding this matter. Email tbowman@nwrpca.org with questions or concerns.

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