Filipino workers file injury complaints vs Hyatt hotels

By Henni Espinosa, ABS-CBN North America News Bureau

Posted at Nov 10 2010 07:47 PM | Updated as of Nov 11 2010 05:56 AM

SAN JOSE, California – Filipinos joined around 3,500 hotel workers in filing injury complaints with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) against 12 Hyatt hotels.

The workers are set to file the suit against Hyatt hotels in San Antonio, Chicago, San Francisco, Santa Clara, Los Angeles, Long Beach, Honolulu and Indianapolis.

“We want workplace injuries to stop and for this to stop, Hyatt management has to minimize the workers’ workload and maintain higher standards at work. Most of the housekeepers are older immigrant women, and with the working conditions they are in, they’re prone to get injured on the job,” said Israel Alvaran, spokesperson of UniteHere.

UniteHere is a union that represents over 250,000 hotel workers throughout the United States and Canada. The union said Hyatt hotels have the highest injury rate among workers compared to other hotels. With more rooms to clean, workers end up rushing their work, leading to more accidents like slipping on wet bathroom floors or tripping over furniture.

In 2009, Nenita Ibe, 68, said she hurt her shoulder while putting sheets on Hyatt hotel beds. She works as a housekeeper at Hyatt Hotel in Santa Clara, California. In some Hyatt properties, housekeepers are required to clean as many as 30 rooms a day.

“Ngayon, hindi ako makagalaw masyado. Ang tuhod ko ang tumutulong sa pagbuhat ng kama kasi di ko mabuhat masyado,” said Ibe.

According to Ibe, the management questioned her because they did not believe that she got injured on the job.

Ibe said her injury became worse. She said it’s now harder for her to clean the rooms, and she can barely sleep at night because of the pain.

Workers recommended to OSHA a number of remedies that could reduce injury risks such as supplying fitted sheets, long-handled mops and dusters and implementing reasonable room quotas. The union alleged that workers are also discouraged from reporting injuries for fear of punishment.

Ibe said fellow injured workers need to speak up for workplace injuries to stop. Balitang America