Hotel Protest Stops Traffic in Union Square

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    NEWSLETTERS

    AP
    A group of girls all wearing jeans walk in front of the Levi's store on Union Square in San Francisco. (AP Photo/Eric Risberg)

    Hundreds of hotel workers marched through the streets of San Francisco Thursday afternoon.

    They are protesting against Hyatt Hotels and the stalled talks over rising health care costs and wages, officials with the two sides said.

    They closed down several streets as they marched during the height of the evening rush hour in and around Union Square.  They say their final destination is the Grand Hyatt.
         
    Hyatt management is asking workers to pay a greater share of health care costs without increasing wages.
         
    "Health care costs have risen by 300 percent in the past 10 years.  We are asking them to pay some portion of their health care costs to cover  that," said Sam Singer of Singer Associates, spokesman for the Hotel Council  of San Francisco.
         
    The union objects to the additional payments, arguing the hotel  chain is projected to enjoy double digit increases in revenue and doesn't  need to ask for concessions from low-wage earners.
         
    "The Hyatt Corporation continues to report record profits," said  Riddhi Mehta-Neugebauer, spokeswoman for Unite Here Local 2. "When Hyatt is  continuing to grow, it is unfair for them to ask workers to make  concessions."
         
    Negotiations began in August 2009 but have stalled, resulting in  two strikes in the past nine months: one at the Grand Hyatt in November 2009,  and the other at the Hyatt Regency in June.
         
    "There has been no progress in terms of negotiations,"  Mehta-Neugebauer said. "Workers are at a crisis point."
    Bay City News