What time is it? Checkout time!
  • Callan Berry
  • "What time is it? Checkout time!"
Staying at the Hyatt at Olive 8, or the Grand Hyatt Seattle anytime soon? You might want to book a different hotel.

Local Hyatt workers say Richard Hedreen, the owner of the hotels, is refusing to let workers vote on unionizing, even though the national chain recently agreed to let workers do just that. In response, workers are asking for all potential customers to not eat, sleep, or meet at these two hotels.

"Seattle Hyatt hotel workers want a chance for a better life, they want a chance to choose whether or not they want a union, free from management intimidation. Richard Hedreen... he can give them that chance," Erik Van Rossum, President of Unite Here Local 8, told a crowd at a protest in front of the Hyatt at Olive 8 today.

Hyatt housekeeper Yuan Ping Tang—aided by translator Lisa Chen—told me that during routine morning meetings, management would tell workers to call the police if union supporters came to their homes to talk about their jobs. Tang also expressed concern over the amount of temp agency workers he has seen at the hotel this summer, workers who generally get less money and benefits.

Yuan Ping Ting in front of Hyatt at Olive 8
  • Callan Berry
  • Yuan Ping Tang in front of Hyatt at Olive 8
"I came to America from China five years ago for an American dream, and to provide for my son," said Tang. When he started working for the hotel, he only made $10.75 per hour. "After paying rent, food, and $300 a month for health insurance, my wife [who also works for the hotel] and I could barely afford anything."

Over a year ago, Tang said he and his fellow workers publicly asked for a fair process to form a union. According to Unite Here, the hotel responded by giving many workers raises of $1-3 an hour. While that's nice and all, it's still no union. I've reached out to the hotel for comment; I'll update if I hear back.

“The boycott may cost workers like me money, but the cost of doing nothing is much greater,” Tang said.