On this International Women’s Day, I remember my own family members, especially my grandparents who worked in the fields, canneries restaurants, stores of in order to make a living and create a life for their families. I can’t imagine what they had to deal with on a daily basis when it cames to working conditions, employment practices and other unfair obstacles to their pursuit of “the American Dream.” With the women of yesterday, today and tomorrow in mind, I share this announcement of an action today in San Francisco to once again stand up for women workers and ultimately for all of humanity.
Hyatt Housekeepers invite all women who work to join us as we
Take Back Our Bodies on International Women’s Day
Thursday, March 8, 2012
8:00am – 10:00am
Hyatt Regency Santa Clara, 5101 Great America Parkway
12:00pm – 1:00pm
Grand Hyatt Union Square, 345 Stockton San Francisco
Martha Reyes, a long-time housekeeper at the Hyatt Regency in Santa Clara, went into work last fall and discovered her co-workers laughing at a collage on the wall. Martha’s face had been pasted onto the body of a skinny, white woman reclining on a surfboard and wearing nothing but a bikini.
“I came to work and saw men laughing at the pictures, and I was so embarrassed to see my face pasted on a bikini body,” says Martha.
The collage included many of the hotel’s housekeepers and was apparently posted in honor of “Housekeeping Appreciation Week.” But Martha did not feel appreciated; she felt humiliated. She tore down the picture of herself and her sister, Lorena Reyes, another long time housekeeper at the hotel. Both Lorena and Martha were subsequently fired. Lorena and Martha together had more than 30 years of service at that hotel property.
Martha says, “For me this is no joke. I take my job very seriously, and all I ask is to be treated with respect. Instead, Hyatt fired me, and now I may lose my home.”
Hyatt’s treatment of Martha and Lorena is part of a pattern of disrespecting women workers and their bodies. Hyatt attempted to fire a female employee when she could not return to work three days after a Caesarian Section birth. Hyatt fired 98 women in a single day – many of whom had worked for Hyatt for decades – in order to replace them with temporary employees making minimum wage. Hyatt faces 17 citations and over $100,000 in proposed fines from OSHA and its state counterparts for alleged violations of safety regulations meant to protect housekeepers from harm.
This International Women’s Day, women workers at Hyatt Hotels are speaking out to demand respect for women and their bodies in the workplace. Taking inspiration from the Clothesline Project, we will erect a clothesline at the Hyatt Regency Santa Clara and Grand Hyatt San Francisco. We invite all women to join us and contribute a t-shirt or article of clothing with your message or story of disrespect of women in the workplace.
The Hyatt workers’ clothesline will shine a spotlight on the variety of ways women and their bodies face disrespect at work, including:
- Sexual harassment
- Unsafe working conditions
- Infringing on women’s rights to be mothers
- Discrimination against women
- Sexualizing women’s bodies
- Excessive workloads
- Treating older women as if they are disposable
How to participate:
- Choose an article of clothing or other item that is symbolic for you or can serve as a canvas. Suggested items include: T-shirts, bikini tops, work uniforms, maternity clothing, back braces, pain relievers, ace bandages, etc.
- Write or draw about your experience of disrespect on your item.
- Bring your item to the action on March 8th. We’ll hang all the items on the clothesline.
- If you don’t have time or materials to create your item in advance, don’t worry! We will have materials at the action to make last minute additions.
For more information please contact: