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NFLPA Concern for “Regular People”…Don’t Forget Hotel Maids!

September 18, 2009 – 1:14 PM


By Laura Pappano

Obviously, it sounds like negotiation hoopla.

Members of the NFL Players Association charged with forging a deal with the league (NFL owners last year voted to opt out of the present collective bargaining agreement) insist they are not just thinking about themselves.

Baltimore Ravens cornerback Domonique Foxworth, one of the youngest  guys ever voted onto the NFL Player’s Association executive committee, said in this week’s New York Times that a lockout – if it comes to that – will not just be a bummer for “billionaire owners” and “some players who might not get a chance for a life-changing payday” but will hurt thousands of “regular people” like parking attendants, concessionaires and souvenir vendors.

Noted Foxworth , “I just want to introduce that there is a third party that doesn’t have a voice.” NFLPA President Kevin Mawae has put out the same message.

The only folks who buy this may be the ten-year-olds in fantasy leagues who are already fretting about no 2010 season (trust me, it’s a topic).

But here’s a suggestion for the NFLPA: If you really want to use your clout, don’t stop with the concessionaires!

Hyatt Hotels – at least three in Boston – are outsourcing their housekeeping staff, laying off 100 who have worked cleaning rooms and making beds in some cases for more than two decades.  Adding to the insult: the housekeepers who were earning in some cases $15 per hour trained their $8-an-hour replacements (they were told trainees would cover vacations, according to The Boston Globe). Hyatt logo-2

Hotels – and those who clean the rooms – are essential to the sports industry. Heck, the Hyatt in Cambridge boasts that, “when Boston’s national sports teams win home games-the hotel exterior lights will change colors.”

The San Francisco Hyatt at Fisherman’s Wharf features fan information on its site and one fan noted that the Grand Hyatt in New York is a popular place for baseball, hockey, basketball, and football teams to stay, “making it a good place for autograph hunting and gawking at multimillion-dollar ballplayers.”

The matter is that housekeeping is a woman’s job. It is also an immigrant woman’s job. Who knows where 21-year-veteran housekeeper Drupatie Jungra – who is 55 years old – will find work now?

President of the Massachusetts Lodging Association, Paul Sacco, pointed out that hotel guests would not be affected. “If you stayed at the Hyatt last night and you bumped into the housekeeper, would you notice a difference?”

Unions can be pig-headed and a barrier to reform. But in the same week that that textile worker and union organizer Crystal Lee Sutton – the real life “Norma Rae” —  died of brain cancer, it’s worth remembering they can also protect women who don’t have the attention of NFL players, who don’t have a voice – or, it seems, even a memorable face.

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