Thursday, July 21, 2011

Pritzker turns heat lamps on striking Hyatt workers

M. Klonsky pic
It was already approaching 100° at 8 a.m. when I arrived at the Park Hyatt where, after 22 months of stalled negotiations, hotel workers were staging a one-day picket to protest the hotel chain's intolerable treatment of their housekeeping staff.

In case you didn't know, Hyatt is owned by the Pritzker family. Heiress Penny Sue Pritzker chairs Obama's national campaign finance committee. She is also big player in Democratic Party politics as well as in the world of anti-union, corporate school reform and was recently appointed by Mayor Rahm Emanuel to a seat on the Chicago school board.

Pritzker's response to the Park Hyatt strikers was to turn on the hotel's powerful heating lamps to try and bake the workers into submission on this brutally hot day. But this seemingly inhuman and probably illegal response seemed to have had just the opposite effect. Picketers began chanting, "Hyatt can't take the heat, but we can!" The lamps were left on until word got out and media began to show up.

CBS News
Unite Here, the hotel and restaurant workers union, is holding large protests against Hyatt in 15 cities in the United States and Canada, among them Chicago, Los Angeles, Boston and San Francisco.  If you join the picket line, be sure and dress light and drink plenty of water so you'll be prepared for the Pritzkers' toaster.

WBBM (CBS) reporter Mike Krauser was there when the lamps were on. Listen to his report here.

16 comments:

  1. I doubt Pritzker herself turned on the heatlamps, but I sure wouldn't want to work with or for the person who did.

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  2. Is Penny Pritzker in any way involved with Hyatt? I know the family owned it in the past, but now it's a public company. Another Pritzker is Chairman, but is Penny involved herself?

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  3. NewsCorp is a public company too.

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  4. Actually, Hyatt stock is now sold publicly on NYSE. The Pritzkers are still big stockholders and Thomas Pritzker is executive chairman. The public offering is a result of the breakup of the Pritzker family empire. Accused of looting family trusts, Thomas and cousins Penny and Nicholas were forced to wrest control of the family businesses when she and other family members were sued by cousin Liesel Pritzker claiming fraud and seeking damages in excess of $6 billion. But Penny is still involved and is the main one with the political connections. She has been most influential in moving Pres. Obama away from the pro-union stand he took during the presidential campaign.

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  5. It looks like you're blaming the wrong Pritzker here, but I'm not surprised. The left will always blame a woman first if there's one available, even if the guy(s) were responsible. It's the dudebro way.

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  6. Sorry Lola, Everything in the post above is factual and there's a lot more that could have been said about the Pritzkers and Penny in particular. She is a reactionary, anti-union powerhouse within the Obama administration as well as in Chicago politics. She's the finance chair of the Obama campaign and is now a member of his Economic Recovery Advisory Board. She's been the main one on that board pushing Obama away from his earlier support of the Employee Free Choice Act. In that capacity she has undermined the leadership of our female Sec. of Labor, Hilda Solis. Actually, to deny her power and responsibility in all this is quite the opposite of a feminist perspective.

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  7. David O. ChicagoJuly 21, 2011 at 7:08 PM

    Lola,
    Who do you blame for Hyatt's brutal assault on its workers and on their union, if not the Pritzkers (including Penny) and the rest of the board and Penny's brother Thomas. We should put a face on this disgusting act.

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  8. I'm assuming you guys took pictures, videos of the heat lamps on - you really ought to post them since the story you linked to says they were off the when the press got there. They're the best part of this story, in terms of getting publicity - photos, videos would be gold.

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  9. Of course, the Pritzkers didn't actually turn the heat lamps on, any more than Rupert Murdoch slipped envelopes filled with cash to British cops. I'm sure Penny, for example, will claim "no knowledge of the incident." After all, she has such a big empire to run.

    Oh, and as for pictures -- the crappy picture above, I took with my iphone, shows the overhang in front of the Park Hyatt, which contains the heaters. But the heat lamps were turned off shortly before I arrived, so I obviously couldn't get the shot John wanted.

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  10. Well, since the brother is the one actually in charge of the company, how about putting his name in the headline instead? WTF? At least dudebro amended it to remove the "Penny," which was in front of the "Pritzker" yesterday. My work here is done.

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  11. LOL...Obama was pro-union. Maybe you should check out what the Maytag union has to say about that. Back-stabber might be among the nicest.

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  12. yOu made Pritzker sound like the devil himself.
    And you write about how nasty the conservative writers are. Your just as bad in some ways.

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  13. The Devil? No, Anon, that dude can really turn on the heat.

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  14. By the way, Anon. The Devil called. Says he wants his weather back.

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  15. Warms my heart to see the Left devouring itself.

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  16. Skookum,
    Your heart should get itself out in front of the Hyatt with the other strikers. It will really get warm.

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