Richard Trumka’s AFL-CIO and a host of other labor unions and liberal activists will publicly target on Monday Hyatt, the hotel chain owned by wealthy supporters of President Barack Obama.
Trumka, the NFL Players Association’s executive director DeMaurice Smith and the Center for Community Change’s executive director Deepak Bhargava, among others, plan to call for a “global boycott” of the company at a 10 a.m. press conference at the National Press Club. In a release announcing the call for a “global boycott,” the liberal political figures said this is “the largest escalation to date in an ongoing campaign for basic workers rights.”
“Hyatt has singled itself out as the worst employer in the hotel industry by abusing its housekeepers and other hotel workers, replacing longtime employees with minimum wage temporary workers, and imposing dangerous and health-threatening workloads on those who remain,” the release reads.
Perhaps most significantly, the escalating battle between Big Labor and Hyatt represents another issue of tension between Big Labor and President Obama during his re-election campaign. Billionaire Penny Pritzker, part of the family that owns Hyatt, served as Obama’s 2008 presidential campaign national finance chair. Her cousin Thomas Pritzker, who serves as executive chairman of Hyatt, has also been a noted supporter of the president.
Penny Pritzker hasn’t reprised her center-stage role in Obama’s re-election campaign. The New York Times has speculated that Pritzker may be taking a backseat this year because, among other things, she and Hyatt have become a “target” of Big Labor.
“As she served on White House councils alongside Richard L. Trumka, the A.F.L.-C.I.O. president, his organization released a video that cast her [Pritzker] as a villainess who hurt rather than helped the economy,” a New York Times story from last week reads.