Thursday, April 02, 2020
Hawai'i Free Press

Current Articles | Archives

Monday, May 20, 2013
Penny Pritzker: Waikiki Hotel Workers Union to Protest Obama Commerce Nominee
By Selected News Articles @ 4:36 PM :: 4293 Views :: Labor, Obama

No Friend of the People: Union plans protest of Obama commerce nominee

President Obama and Penny Pritzker / AP President Obama and Penny Pritzker / AP

by Bill McMorris, Washington Free Beacon, May 20, 2013

One of the largest hospitality unions in the nation will protest President Barack Obama’s commerce secretary nominee on Thursday, the first day of her confirmation hearings.

UNITE HERE, which represents tens of thousands of hotel and restaurant workers, will gather in front of the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Chicago to demonstrate against Penny Pritzker, one of Obama’s largest campaign bundlers.

“The Commerce Secretary’s first concern should be to create good, family sustaining jobs for all Americans,” Hyatt housekeeper Cathy Youngblood said in a release. “Under Pritzker’s direction, Hyatt has led the hotel industry in a race to the bottom by aggressively subcontracting out career hotel jobs to minimum wage temps. This is not the model that will lead our country to a bright economic future.”

Pritzker’s father founded the Hyatt Hotel chain and bequeathed a multi-billion dollar fortune to her and her siblings. She has dedicated her fortune to liberal politics, especially Obama’s campaigns for the U.S. Senate and the presidency.

UNITE HERE has been engaged in a bitter battle with Hyatt for almost a decade, lobbying for better pay and benefits and accusing the company of “reprehensible” behavior and unfair resistance to unionization.

However, the union maintained silence about Pritzker’s nomination as it campaigns for immigration reform and other liberal agenda items. Pritzker bundled more than $1.3 million for Obama’s presidential runs and contributed $250,000 to his 2013 inauguration. She was a campaign reelection co-chair for Obama in 2012 and served on the president’s jobs council.

When Obama announced Pritzker’s nomination in the Rose Garden on May 2, the union focused on filling her seat on the hotel’s board of directors rather than her role in the administration.

“I’m confident that Ms. Pritzker will do her best to help our country succeed, but if Hyatt is going to succeed, they need to change—I believe they need someone like me to help,” Youngblood said at the time.

The union did not mince words on Monday, accusing Pritzker of unfairly treating her workers.

“Our wages have been frozen since 2009, and our families are suffering,” Cristian Toro, a banquet server at the Hyatt Regency McCormick, said in the release. “Hyatt has set a bad example for the rest of the hotel industry, and we’re taking a stand.”

A Hyatt spokeswoman accused the union of engaging in “misinformation” in its campaign to derail the Pritzker nomination.

“Our associates in Chicago, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Waikiki have endured nearly four years without a wage increase because UNITE HERE leaders won’t allow our associates to vote on new contracts unless Hyatt agrees to impose unionization on employees at other Hyatt hotels,” the hotel said in a statement. “It’s a shame UNITE HERE leaders are sacrificing the needs of those they represent in order to build their membership.”

Pritzker’s nomination has driven a wedge in the Obama coalition and the union sought to highlight its supporters at other liberal interest groups.

UNITE HERE’s release invoked support from the National Organization of Women (NOW), the National Council of La Raza, and the National Gay and Lesbian Taskforce in its fight against Hyatt.

Some of those groups appear to be sitting out the coming nomination fight. NOW embraced Pritzker’s nomination when it was announced. A La Raza spokesman said that the group signed on to support the union’s cause against Hyatt, but “had no idea” why the union included the group in the release.

Neither the National Gay and Lesbian Taskforce, nor Hyatt returned calls for comment.


Related: Clayton Hee, Jessica Wooley join in Unite HERE Bed Making Contest outside Hyatt Waikiki


TEXT "follow HawaiiFreePress" to 40404

Register to Vote


808 Silent Majority

808 State Update AM940


ACA Signups Hawaii



Alliance Defending Freedom

Aloha Life Advocates

Aloha Pregnancy Care Center

American Council of Trustees and Alumni

American Mothers of Hawaii



Antonio Gramsci Reading List

A Place for Women in Waipio

Astronomy Hawaii

Audit The Rail

Ballotpedia Hawaii

Better Hawaii 

Blaisdell Memorial Project

Broken Trust 

Build More Hawaiian Homes Working Group

CAFR Hawaii

Castaway Conservative

Children's Alliance Hawaii

Children's Rights Institute

Christian Homeschoolers of Hawaii

Citizens for Recall

Cliff Slater's Second Opinion

Coffee Break

CSIS Pacific Forum

DAR Hawaii

DVids Hawaii

E Hana Kakou Kelii Akina

E Māua Ola i Moku o Keawe

Farmers For Choice Hawaii


Fix Oahu!

Follow the Money Hawaii

Frank in Hawaii

Front Page Magazine

Frontline: The Fixers

Genetic Literacy Project

Get Off Your Butts!

God, Freedom, America

Grassroot Institute

Hawaii Aganst Assisted Suicide

Hawaii Aquarium Fish Report

Hawaii Aviation Preservation Society

Hawaii Catholic TV

Hawaii Christian Coalition

Hawaii Cigar Association

Hawaii Coalition Against Legalized Gambling

Hawaii ConCon Info

Hawaii Credit Union Watch

Hawaii Crime Victims' Rights

Hawaii Crop Improvement Association

Hawaii Debt Clock

Hawaii Defending Marriage

Hawaii Defense Foundation

Hawaii Families for Educational Choice

Hawaii Family Advocates

Hawaii Family Forum

Hawaii Farmers and Ranchers United

Hawaii Farmer's Daughter

Hawaii Federalist Society

Hawaii Federation of Republican Women

Hawaii Firearm Community

Hawaii Fishermen's Alliance

Hawaii Future Project

Hawaii Gathering of Eagles

Hawaii History Blog

Hawaii Homeschool Association

Hawaii Jihadi Trial

Hawaii March for Life

Hawaii Meth Project

Hawaii's Partnership for Appropriate & Compassionate Care

Hawaii Public Charter School Network

Hawaii Rifle Association

Hawaii Right to Life -- Big Island

Hawaii Right to Life -- Oahu

Hawaii Shield Law Coalition

Hawaii Shippers Council

Hawaii Smokers Alliance

Hawaii State Data Lab

Hawaii Together

Heritage Foundation

HI Coalition Against Legalized Gambling



Hiram Fong Papers

Homeschool Legal Defense Hawaii

Honolulu Homeless Crisis

Honolulu Navy League

Honolulu Traffic

Horns of Jericho Blog

House Minority Blog

House Republican Caucus YouTube


Hump Day Report

I Vote Hawaii

If Hawaii News

Imua TMT

Inouye-Kwock, NYT 1992

Inside the Nature Conservancy

Inverse Condemnation

Investigative Project on Terrorism

Iowa Meets Maui

Jackson v Abercrombie

Jihad Watch

Judgepedia Hawaii

July 4 in Hawaii

Kahle v New Hope

Kakaako Cares

Kau TEA Party

Kauai Co GOP

Keep Hawaii's Heroes


Land and Power in Hawaii

Legislative Committee Analysis Tool

Lessons in Firearm Education

Lingle Years

Malulani Foundation

Managed Care Matters -- Hawaii

Malama Pregnancy Center of Maui

Mauna Kea Recreational Users Group

Middle East Forum--The Legal Project

Mililani Conservatives for Change

Military Home Educators' Network Oahu

Missile Defense Advocacy

MIS Veterans Hawaii

Muslim Brotherhood in America

NAMI Hawaii


National Christian Foundation Hawaii

National Parents Org Hawaii

National Wind Watch

New Zeal

NFIB Hawaii News

No GMO Means No Aloha

Northwest Economic Policy Seminar

Not Dead Yet, Hawaii

Now What I Really Think

NRA-ILA Hawaii

Oahu Alternative Transport

ObamaCare Abortion Hawaii


OHA Lies

Opt Out Today

Pacific Aviation Museum

Patients Rights Council Hawaii

PEACE Hawaii

People vs Machine

Pritchett Cartoons 

Pro-GMO Hawaii


Rental by Owner Awareness Assn

Republican Party -- Hawaii State

Research Institute for Hawaii USA

Rick Hamada Show

RJ Rummel

Robotics Organizing Committee

School Choice in Hawaii

SIFE Remington

SIFE W. Oahu 

Sink the Jones Act

Smart About Marijuana--Hawaii

St Marianne Cope

State Budget Solutions Hawaii

State Policy Network

Statehood for Guam

Tax Foundation of Hawaii

The Harriet Tubman Agenda

The Long War Journal

The Real Hanabusa

Time Out Honolulu

Trustee Akina KWO Columns

Truth About Trade & Technology - Hawaii

UCC Truths

Union Members Know Your Rights

US Tax Foundation Hawaii Info

Valor in the Pacific

VAREP Honolulu

West Maui Taxpayers Association

What Natalie Thinks

Whole Life Hawaii