Hyatt Boycott Information

  • Written by rss
  • April 1, 2013 at 6:51 pm
  • Info for RSS Members on the Hyatt Boycott

    Dear RSS Members:

    At the February meetings of the RSS Executive Committee and RSS Council, the issue of our contracts with Hyatt properties was thoroughly reviewed.  The RSS Executive Committee and the RSS Council passed the following motions: (Details of the RSS Council discussion are contained in the minutes, which are currently under review, but will soon be posted to the RSS Website www.ruralsociology.org).

    The following motions were first approved by the RSS Executive Committee and passed on to the full Council:

    Michael Schulman, President of RSS, reported on the discussion of the Executive Committee in regard to the contract with the two Hyatt properties.  The Executive Committee recommended the following action items to Council: 

    •  2015 Columbus OH Hyatt: Recommend severing contract, stay in Columbus and look for a different hotel in Columbus.
    • 2016 Bellevue WA Hyatt:  Recommend severing the contract and move meetings to Toronto and coordinate with IRSA
    • Create an escrow account to pay for cancellation fees whereby voluntary contributions for the 2013 meeting may be deposited and in which a surcharge for 2014 and 2015 cancellation fees may be deposited.
    • Incorporate new language into future contracts regarding union conflicts using the draft provided by the Experient representative as a model.

     

    This language is as follows:

    Organized Labor / Unions.

    Hotel will notify Group of any organized labor (“Union”) that exists at Hotel and Hotel will identify any costs associated with said Union by specific dollar amount in this agreement. If a labor group organizes subsequent to the execution of this contract, Group will not be held to any contract, agreement, restriction or costs associated with that new labor group if it negatively affects pricing, arrangements, outside suppliers or any term of this Agreement. 

    Additionally, Hotel will notify Group prior to execution of this Agreement of the status of any existing Union agreement and the date(s) on which that agreement is set to expire/renew. Hotel acknowledges that individual Group attendees’ may be members of other labor organizations and their personal collective bargaining agreements may prohibit those attendees from crossing picket and/or strike lines. As a result, if there is active picketing or striking at any date within the Sixty (60) days prior to Group’s event, Group shall have the right to cancel this Agreement without liability and/or continue to hold the Event without any performance obligation (sleeping room performance, F&B performance, etc.)

    Subsequently, at the RSS Mid-Year Meetings, RSS Council Unanimously Approved the Following Motions.

    Michael called for a motion: That the RSS would break its contract with Hyatt Regency in Columbus OH in 2015 but maintain our meeting in Columbus, and that RSS would seek an alternative hotel property in Columbus that would be consistent with RSS guidelines.  Joan moved. Pat seconded.  The motion carried unanimously.

    Michael called for a motion:  That the RSS would break its contract with Hyatt Bellevue for 2016, and that it move the 2016 meetings in Toronto and work with IRSA to find a hotel consistent with RSS guidelines. Joann moved, Conner seconded and the motion carried unanimously.

    Michael welcomed a motion to include the contract language from Claudia from Experient for all future contracts. Joan moved. Pat seconded.  The motion carried unanimously.

    Michael welcomed a motion that for 2013 that RSS Business Office establishes procedures for voluntary contributions to Escrow fund to be used to augment any cancellation assessments for 2015 and 2016 contract cancellations. Pat moved. Leland seconded.  The emotion carried unanimously.

    In taking these votes, Council was aware that cancelling the two contracts would have financial consequences but believed that holding our annual meetings in hotels from a hotel chain which is engaged in an active dispute with their workers posed significant moral issues.  In the end, Council decided that taking a moral stance in support of labor was the right thing to do and believed that the overwhelming majority of RSS members would agree.

    Subsequent Updates

    Formal letters were sent by Certified Post to the two Hyatt properties informing them that RSS is cancelling their contracts. The RSS Business Office has investigated alternative venues in Columbus Ohio, but found no suitable alternatives (the Hilton ultimately did not have sufficient space for our needs; the Sheraton is in an undesirable location in town; and RSS members in Columbus found that dorm rooms were not available at the proposed meeting times and that the eating facilities associated with the dorms are limited and substandard for our needs). Therefore, the RSS Business Office is currently exploring other Midwestern locations for 2015.