The Hyatt hotel in Boston continues to get national media attention because the housekeepers and other hotel workers that lost their jobs to cheap foreign labor are raising a big stink. This is an example of the squeaky wheel getting the oil. After a huge public outcry the Hyatt relented by announcing that they will rehire 98 housekeepers at their original salary.
A YouTube video titled “Civil Disobedience: Sit Down at Park Hyatt Chicago” shows a boisterous protest that occurred over the weekend in Chicago:
One thing I noticed that is amusing and dismaying at the same time is that the protestors were constantly chanting “SĂ,se puede”. Talk about clueless! That innocent sounding chant with the literal translation of “yes, we can” is actually the battle cry of the open borders and amnesty crowds as well as leftist supporters of Obama. The chant as used in immigration protests is a treasonous call to separatism that is closer in meaning to: “yes, we can overcome the white people in the U.S. to reclaim our land!” So, the Hyatt protestors completely missed the irony of their own actions.
Amidst all the controversy, have we learned anything about who the foreigners were that were contracted by Hospitality Staffing Solutions (HSS) to work at the Hyatt?
In the newsletter last week, I assumed that HSS was using the H-2B visa because it seemed unlikely that HSS and/or Hyatt would use illegal aliens to replace Americans in such a blatant and high profile manner. The hotel jobs that were lost are often filled by H-2B so it seemed like the natural choice. Now, however, there is circumstantial evidence that at least some of the cheap laborers were illegal aliens. A recent Boston Globe article has a bizarre quote from the HSS president that is a real head scratcher:
“Holliday said all Hospitality Staffing Solutions workers are legally authorized to work. But three Boston-area workers told the Globe on Monday that they were undocumented to work in the United States.”Hotel staffing company faced wage complaints, By Katie Johnston Chase, Boston Globe,September 26, 2009
Both HSS and the Hyatt claim to use E-verify to validate the legal status of their employees, so the contractors had to have some kind of documents, like for instance fraudulent social security and identity cards. Calling them “undocumented” seems to be a nonsensical and politically correct way of saying that several of them are illegal aliens. This entire episode calls into question the claim that E-verify is 99.5% accurate, and that alone should spark an investigation!
There were a lot of Hyatt workers who lost their jobs but so far it`s not at all clear what types of visas were used for the other 95 workers at the Hyatt. The mix of illegal aliens to legal H-2B visa holders is not known at this time. We may never find out because the immigration angle of this story is being swept under the rug by the mainstream media. Except for the lame description of “undocumented” in the Boston Globe the recent news articles on the Hyatt incident completely avoid even mentioning that the replacement workers were immigrants.
Even Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick spoke out against the Hyatt and called for a boycott, but he dodged the issue of immigration like it was the black plague or the swine flu. Of course that shouldn`t come as a surprise from a governor that supports in-state tuition and drivers licenses for illegal aliens.
The Hyatt story should warrant an investigation by the DHS and the DOL, but now that the workers have been placated the controversy might fade away. It might also be worth investigating how many of the 98 Hyatt workers that were replaced were here legally. This could actually be a story of low paid illegal aliens who were hired to replace higher paid illegals!
In conclusion it`s a positive sign that so many people became outraged when the Hyatt used cheap foreign labor to replace more expensive workers, however I`m a little miffed because for years engineers, scientists, and computer programmers have been forced to train their H-1B and L-1 replacements. There was very little public outrage even though the incidents have been very well documented. So, why does the public and the media seem to care so much about $15 an hour housekeeping jobs while at the same time they don`t bat an eye when corporations give away high-tech jobs that pay two to ten times as much?