This November more than 1,000 members of the Ignatian family will gather at the 15th annual Ignatian Family Teach-In for Justice (IFTJ) to remember the Jesuit martyrs of El Salvador and engage in learning, reflection, networking, and advocacy for social justice. The IFTJ 2012 will be held at the Hyatt Regency Crystal City in Arlington, Virginia. As you may know, a coalition of labor unions and labor rights organizations recently began an international boycott focused on the Hyatt Hotel corporation. The boycott is in response to a number of concerns including the increased use of subcontract workers at Hyatt properties across the United States. They have titled their boycott campaign “Hyatt Hurts” and information about it can be found at www.hyatthurts.org.
The Ignatian Solidarity Network is very concerned about the rights and treatment of all hotel employees and subcontractors at hotels nationwide. We want to be in solidarity with those workers who are being marginalized by unjust practices while recognizing that the employment practices and policies are unique to each hotel property. While we respect the strategy of the labor organizations to utilize a boycott to ellicit change, it is not possible for ISN to join the boycott as it relates to the 2012 Ignatian Family Teach-In for Justice.
At this point in the IFTJ planning, it is not feasible to move a program of this size to another venue. ISN has made logistical and resource commitments that, if altered, would prevent many of our member institutions from participating in the 2012 IFTJ, and would jeopardize the financial solvency of the ISN. In addition, remaining at the Hyatt Regency Crystal City will afford the Ignatian family the opportunity to fully engage its members in a real-world labor issue in the context of Catholic Social Teaching and the Ignatian education pedagogical model through direct dialogue with Hyatt corporation, hotel management, and employees.
In the coming months, we will be taking the following actions to allow the Ignatian family to develop a broader understanding of these issues and how they can support the rights of marginalized Hyatt workers before, during, and after the Ignatian Family Teach-In for Justice.
- Provide resources about the Hyatt boycott campaign, the Hyatt Regency Crystal City, labor rights, and Catholic teaching on labor issues on this page;
- Create opportunities for Ignatian family members to hear from various parties involved with the Hyatt boycott to better understand the complexity of this issue;
- Work with the Teach-In steering committee to develop ways that participants can learn more about the issue at the Teach-in through dialogue and how they can support the rights of marginalized Hyatt workers as an element of their post Teach-in advocacy.
Thank you for your continued support and engagement in the Ignatian Solidarity Network. If you have specific questions about the Ignatian Family Teach-In for Justice or would like to share ways to engage the issue, do not hesitate to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I am happy to answer your questions and would be excited to hear your ideas.
(October 10, 2012) UPDATE ON ACTIONS RELATED TO THE HYATT BOYCOTT:
- On October 9th ISN hosted a webinar about the Hyatt boycott featuring staff from InterFaith Worker Justice, an organizer from UNITEHERE, and a Marriott employee. A video recording of the webinar can be found here.
- InterFaith Worker Justice (IFWJ) will facilitate breakout sessions about the Hyatt Boycott at a meeting room at the Marriott Courtyard, located directly across the street from Hyatt Regency Crystal City. This will allow IFWJ to participate in the teach-in without compromising their commitment to the boycott;
- Two Providence College students involved with worker rights campaigns will facilitate a boycott information table in the exhibit area during the Ignatian Family Teach-In for Justice. They will provide attendees with information about the boycott and how to become actively engaged;
- The Ignatian Solidarity Network will include a letter from Kim Bobo, executive director of InterFaith Worker Justice regarding the boycott in the Ignatian Family Teach-In for Justice Program Book.
HyattHurts Boycott Campaign Information:
- Hyatt Boycott Campaign Website (UNITEHERE/AFL-CIO)
- July 23, 2012 – Statement on Global Boycott of Hyatt Hotels Announced (HyattHurts.org)
Hyatt Regency Hotel Information:
- Hyatt Workplace Website (Hyatt Corporation)
- July 27, 2012 – Letter from Jean-Marc Dizard, General Manager, Hyatt Regency Crystal City
Catholic Social Teaching and Labor Rights:
- What is Catholic Social Teaching? (Source: Jesuit Social Research Institute)
- United States Conference of Catholic Bishops Resources on the “The Dignity and Rights of the Worker”
- United States Conference of Catholic Bishops: Labor Day Statement 2012
Other Resource Sites: