The situation unfolding at a Hyatt hotel in Boston is a slightly different situation because it involves the H-2B visa. Until now there was an assumption that the forced training wouldn't happen with H-2B because the jobs are typically lower skilled and lower paying, and therefore less of a target for this type of corporate cannibalism. This story is proof positive that there is a race to the bottom to replace Americans who work as housekeepers at hotels for $15 an hour.
Hyatt Boston isn't hiring their own H-2Bs. They are using a bodyshop called Hospitality Staffing Solutions to import the laborers. There isn't much information on HSS on their website.
One thing to note is that HSS is designated as a woman owned minority business. Because of affirmative action regulations minority contractors have a huge advantage over non-minority companies that bid for outsourcing contracts. Lately I have seen a trend of women owned minority businesses moving into the H-1B and H-2B body trade in professions such as teaching, construction, and now housekeeping.
Ironically Hyatt is using H-2B workers to replace Americans who are mostly minority. No argument can be made that Hyatt is diversifying their workforce by doing this, although they might be able to argue that they will be able to get more workers who are bi-lingual. Click on the links to the articles below to see pictures of the unemployed Americans to see for yourself who is losing their jobs (hint — they are African Americans and whites!). The WBTZ article has a video that is definitely worth watching.
Hyatt labor condition applications (LCA) for H-2Bs can be viewed at the DOL website. You must download the files and then import them into a program like Excel to view the data. Go here:Foreign Labor Certification Data Center
Here are a few data points for Hyatt. The economic incentive for them to replace their American employees is the money and benefits they save from dumping $15 an hour American employees with benefits for $7 and hour workers with no benefits.
There is no data for Hospitality Staffing Solutions. This is probably because HSS didn't get into the H-2B business until recently. Once again the DOL is late on posting current data — this time they are behind by more than a year because their most recent data is for 2008 (we are now on the 2010 fiscal year). HSS probably won't show up until 2010 data is posted.
Give credit to the housekeepers and other workers at Hyatt — they aren't taking Hyatt's abuse lying down. Last week they had a protest outside of the Hyatt. The union that organized the protest has a website here: