Please, please read the recently released “Open the Gates of Justice: A Clergy Report on Working Conditions at Hyatt Hotels.”
Readers of this blog know I’ve long been standing in solidarity with Hyatt workers who have called for boycotts at eighteen hotels across the US. We’ve watched with deep dismay as Hyatt, a multi-billion dollar corporation, has eliminated jobs, replaced career housekeepers with minimum wage temporary workers, and imposed dangerous workloads on those who remain.
The centerpiece of this new report is the direct testimony of hotel workers themselves, who speak eloquently to the injustices they endure – as well as their desire only to be valued as workers for the important work they do for Hyatt hotels. Their testimonies came from numerous interviews conducted by clergy from across the country who fervently believe that the struggle for worker justice is a central tenet of all of our faith traditions.
From the introduction to the report:
It is part of the purpose of this report to challenge the complacency that we and the mainstream religious community have previously exhibited to these business practices, to identify these practice as oshek/oppression, and to propose steps that we, as people of faith, can do to stand in solidarity with workers as they challenge their employers to live up to the ideals set by our religious traditions for more equitable workplaces and a more equitable society.
I was also thrilled to read enthusiastic support for the report in a recent Forward editorial:
(This) much is clear: The extensive documentation and textual support in the rabbinical report is a welcome addition to a growing number of efforts to link Jewish law and scholarship to timely social concerns. Advocates for the environment, labor, sustainable agriculture and development policy increasingly use Jewish language and teachings to frame their arguments. The rabbinic report on Hyatt calls social teachings on labor “the best kept secrets of our religious tradition.” Not anymore.
And click here to read a substantive feature on the report from the Boston Jewish Advocate that just came out today.