Indiana and NFL union leaders protest Hyatt

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Indiana and NFL union leaders on Friday protested the possible layoffs of hotel workers at the Hyatt Regency in downtown Indianapolis as part of an ongoing labor fight with the hotel chain.

Roughly 100 demonstrators marched outside the hotel chanting and carrying signs with the Hyatt corporate logo converted into a frowning face. The hotel is a few blocks from where the Super Bowl will be played on Sunday.

"I love people who stand together to fight for what's right," NFL Players Association executive director DeMaurice Smith told protesters. He also said NFL players would continue a year-old boycott of Hyatt over its treatment of workers.

Protesters are asking the Hyatt to hire 20 longtime hotel workers who may be out of jobs when the hotel ends a subcontract with Hospitality Staffing Solutions. But the hotel says all of those workers are employed.

Hyatt general manager Brian Comes said nine of the workers were still working at the hotel with a new contractor, United Services, and the other 11 were working at other Indianapolis hotels.

Comes said the protesters don't speak for the workers at the downtown Hyatt.

"We're not anti-union, we're pro-worker," he said, noting that the protests have not slowed business during Super Bowl weekend. He said the hotel was booked.

Service-workers union UNITE HERE organized Friday's protest. The union has also filed a lawsuit on behalf of 14 Indianapolis hotel workers alleging wage and hour violations by Hospitality Staffing Solutions and ten Indianapolis hotels.

"They're going to make millions of dollars from the Super Bowl while more people from HSS are going to be laid off," said Fernando Gomez, 23 of Indianapolis, a housecleaner and banquet server with HSS who is also a plaintiff in the lawsuit.

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