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Hyatt treats its employees fairly

Regarding The Sun's recent interview with the president of Unite Here Local 7 ("Working hard on behalf of labor," Sept. 2), I would like to correct several serious misperceptions on behalf of the dedicated team of professionals at the Hyatt Regency Baltimore hotel.

First, we provide market-leading wage and benefits packages here in Baltimore, ensured by regular wage and benefit surveys that assist us in hiring and retaining the best possible talent to serve our guests. The proof is that 40 percent of our associates have more than 10 years of service, and 20 percent have been with Hyatt for more than 20 years. This would not be the case if our benefits and wages were not competitive with other hotels in the area, including hotels with unionized work forces.

On an as-needed basis, like virtually all hotel management companies, we use staffing companies to supplement certain functions so we can respond effectively to fluctuations in business levels. We take any decision to engage staffing companies very seriously and ensure their business practices align with our market and our values. Why? The satisfaction and well-being of our associates is fundamental to the success of our business because they are the ones who provide hospitality to our guests.

Second, Hyatt has a long history of strong relations with our unions. Our company continues to reach agreements and have productive relationships with unions such as the Teamsters, Long Shoremen, Electrical Workers (IBEW), SEIU, Operating Engineers (IUOE) and Workers United. At Hyatt, we are pro-employee.

All we ask is that our associates be provided accurate information and be permitted to choose whether or not they want to be represented by a union in a fair, federally-supervised election by secret ballot. In this way, we can be assured their choice is made free of intimidation and coercion. We support giving our employees a voice and will honor their decision.

At the Hyatt Regency Baltimore, we believe our track record speaks best: The Sun selected the hotel as a top-ranked place to work in 2011, based on a vote of our associates, and Hyatt Regency Baltimore was the only hotel in the city to be so honored. In addition, the paper recognized us as winner of the Direction Award, meaning our associates believe that our team, values and company are moving in the right direction.

Gail Smith-Howard, Baltimore

The writer is general manager of the Hyatt Regency Baltimore.

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