In Hollywood Hotel, Maids are Watched by a Dog Named Rex

23 Oct

From the you can’t make this shit up department:

A federal agency charged with enforcing labor law has issued a complaint against the Hyatt Andaz Hotel in West Hollywood, alleging the hotel illegally implemented a new electronic tracking device that monitors productivity of housekeepers.

The system, known as “Rex” because it is animated by a wagging-tailed dog by the same name, consists of tracking software managed on iPods that tells housekeepers exactly which room to clean and when. It requires housekeepers clock when they enter and exit each guest room. It can send a housekeeper and her heavy cart from one end of the hotel to the other, sometimes hundreds of yards away, potentially increasing travel time from room to room. Housekeeping work can lead to debilitating injuries over time, and the federal government has identified pushing heavy carts as one key source of strain on the bodies of women who clean rooms.

“What’s so insidious about this system is that it robs housekeepers of their ability to manage their own work. It’s the 21st Century way for Hyatt to rush housekeepers, micromanaging their moves from a computer and making a housekeeper’s already-tough job harder,” said Ada Briceno, UNITE HERE Local 11 Secretary-Treasurer. “What’s next – electronic ankle bracelets?”

Some housekeepers also said they felt offended by the symbol of the dog. For housemen, the avatar is a chili pepper.

“It’s true we run around to get the rooms cleaned in time for guests, but why a dog? We’re not animals. Couldn’t they have used the symbol of a person walking like at traffic corners? That would have been a bit more humane,” said Cathy Youngblood, a Hyatt Andaz housekeeper who testified to the NLRB about the tracking technology.

Eagerly awaiting the libertarian denunciations.

h/t David Kaib

32 Responses to “In Hollywood Hotel, Maids are Watched by a Dog Named Rex”

  1. Joanna Bujes October 23, 2012 at 1:32 pm #

    I don’t believe there are many occupations that are more micro-managed and super-exploited than hotel cleaning.

    To further degrade this work by having a computer do the micromanaging is adding insult to injury.

  2. IB October 23, 2012 at 1:39 pm #

    What libertarian could possibly denounce so fitting a tribute to the freedom of contract?

    • Blinkenlights der Gutenberg October 25, 2012 at 8:30 am #

      They will be denouncing the complaint to the labor board… as well as the existence of the labor board.

  3. Aliothemage October 23, 2012 at 2:25 pm #

    I have a better idea…if they don’t like their job what about find another fucking job?

    “oh noes but while my peers were studying hard I drop out high school in order to drink ,sleep and play xbox all day,where I find another job?”<—typical leftard response

    • Corey Robin October 23, 2012 at 2:28 pm #

      If you keep this up, I’ll ban you from the site. I’m telling you nicely.

    • swallerstein October 23, 2012 at 3:21 pm #

      That comment is very offensive.

      I have an Argentinian woman friend, with a university degree in architecture, who is a cleaner in the U.S., because she lost her job as an architect and could not find other work.

      That could happen to anyone, even to a libertarian, so “there but for the grace of God, go you and I”.

    • msobel October 23, 2012 at 11:29 pm #

      The law in it’s majesty allows both the rich and the poor to clean hotel rooms and obey computers.

      • msobel October 23, 2012 at 11:30 pm #

        sorry, its majesty

    • stratplayer October 24, 2012 at 5:17 pm #

      I guess you think freedom is only for those who can afford it. God forbid we should have “socialized liberty” in this country. Private power should be free to dominate and oppress without meddlesome government getting in the way.

  4. debmeier October 23, 2012 at 2:29 pm #

    We’re all in this together–hotel maids and teachers are being deprived of their most basic human needs – to have some say/control over their own lives.

  5. msobel October 23, 2012 at 2:44 pm #

    This was predicted in an interesting “book” http://marshallbrain.com/robotic-nation.htm IMHO a little didactic but that’s only a fault when liberals do it. Otherwise, it’s conviction. See also Francisco’s ‘Money’ Speech from “Atlas Shrugged”

    • casino implosion October 23, 2012 at 3:50 pm #

      I was digging around in my bookmarks trying to find this link and you beat me to it.

  6. Brian M. Saxton October 23, 2012 at 4:16 pm #

    Here’s a libertarian (well, sort of) denouncing this policy: I think it’s stupid. Pissing off your employees is counterproductive, and this will do it.

    And, I’ll go one better: if it violates their contract to change working conditions in this way without bargaining over it, it’s illegal. That contract ought to be enforced. I’ll go you one better yet: I recognize the ways in which labor law handicaps free bargaining between unions and employers to the benefit of employers, most of which is enabled by Team Red politicians that I support. I really wish they’d stop doing those things!

    What I don’t quite get (and this is a serious question; I’m trying to ask in good faith!) is what you and I should do about it. If every business stopped doing things I consider stupid, I think the world would be a better place, but I’m not sure how to legislate that preference in a way that’s consistent with the rule of law. Perhaps a stronger union (like we’d get if labor laws were more evenhanded) would stop them from doing this in the first place, but I think it’s asking a lot of any system to get business people to stop doing stupid things.

    • Mitchell Freedman October 23, 2012 at 10:56 pm #

      Would it really be an unconstitutional interference with the freedom of contract to ban these devices as a use at workplaces? Just wonderin’….

      • Brian M. Saxton October 24, 2012 at 4:50 pm #

        I don’t think such a law would be unconstitutional; even if I think it should be, it pretty definitively would not be as the law stands today. The real issue as far as I’m concerned is, what would that law look like? Maybe you could write a law that banned the use of this kind of device only and not other kinds of electronic devices that we probably want to allow, but I’m skeptical.

    • Blinkenlights der Gutenberg October 25, 2012 at 8:35 am #

      In libertarian lolly land, pissing off workers is counterproductive. There is no conflict of interest. What’s bad for workers is bad for bosses.

      Thus there’s no problem to solve. The market will resolve it.

  7. brahmsky October 23, 2012 at 6:06 pm #

    Oedipus wrecks.

  8. Robert October 23, 2012 at 11:18 pm #

    I can’t understand why “Aliothemage” has yet to be banned. Warning this fool, and “telling her/him nicely” seems roughly equivalent to psychoanalysis with a feral pit bull. If anyone here happened to care what the run-of-the-mill pseudo-sociopath thought about exploitation, she could check the comment threads at Yahoo! news and find enough material to fill an evening. After all, it’s not as though anything of actual substance is ever approached by this howling jackass on repeat.

    More than enough is quite enough, already.

    • jonnybutter October 24, 2012 at 7:56 am #

      I can understand why he hasn’t been banned already, and am glad he hasn’t been (and would also understand if he were, using CR’s criteria). You don’t ban people because: ‘he doesn’t add anything not found elsewhere’, or because you think he’s stupid. You ban him for being violent, or offensive for the sake of it, or for being a deliberate troll.

      I like it a lot that CR doesn’t reflexively ban commenters. For one thing, it’s a nice contrast to the typical right wing sites which – if they allow comments at all – routinely excise anything in comments which strays from the Party Line.

      • Chris Bonner October 26, 2012 at 4:35 pm #

        I’m with robert on this. Alio has amply demonstrated his reasons for commenting here – to troll, and only to troll.

    • jonnybutter October 26, 2012 at 4:51 pm #

      So what does ‘trolling’ mean? Saying something you (or I) think is stupid? I don’t think he’s here just to deliberately ruin or hijack threads.

  9. VonLmo October 24, 2012 at 6:26 am #

    “Time Management ” is so ’90’s.

  10. Dan Floros October 24, 2012 at 9:20 pm #

    I expect this example of corporate idiocy will self-correct. Running a system like this requires hardware, the software package, and IT people to manage it. It obviously annoys the employees, and the more experienced among them will move on to less obnoxious pastures. The bad (or at least mocking) press will keep some customers from coming back.

    The NLRB hearings are useful for bringing the subject of workplace coercion into the public consciousness, but not for much more. Its perfectly legal, and perfectly stupid.

    • Blinkenlights der Gutenberg October 25, 2012 at 8:37 am #

      “Running a system like this requires hardware, the software package, and IT people to manage it.”

      Right. Computers will never replace more labor than they require to run!

      Get real. Surveillance via iPod will allow one supervisor to manage 10,000,000 employees.

    • Chris Bonner October 26, 2012 at 4:40 pm #

      I dont think its so easy for an Argentinian immigrant with no education and children to care for to simply ‘move to greener pastures.’ These managers think they can micromanage people with impunity precisely because they know they know that their workers have little recourse or alternatives.

  11. Aliothemage October 25, 2012 at 4:53 am #

    50% of all California taxes are paid by 141,000 people
    If 141,000 affluent people in CA go “on strike”, CA would be done for…what if 141k poor go “on strike”? NOBODY CARES

    another reason you can’t keep increasing taxes to pay for unaccountable big gov’t programs that offer poor services and for all that welfare

    • Chip Daniels October 25, 2012 at 8:19 pm #

      Gawd I would laugh myself silly if 141,000 affluent people “went on strike”.
      Which would consist of doing what? Shutting down their businesses?

      Great! There are thousands more that we can buy from!

      Shutting one’s business is a far more effective boycott than any leftist group could ever dream of enacting.

  12. Aliothemage October 25, 2012 at 4:53 am #

    sorry i meant “went on strike”,damn edit

    • jonnybutter October 25, 2012 at 3:28 pm #

      ‘can’t afford’ is not a scientific measure of anything. It’s entirely subjective.

      You can’t ‘go on strike’ from your government whether you’re rich or poor. You basically have two choices: 1.) leave, or 2.) take your responsibilities as a citizen seriously enough to take self-government seriously. That means that you at least have to understand the budget you’re criticizing – how it’s spent, how it’s raised – in toto and in context. In other words you have to know how government actually works, and some historical context. You don’t, and it is painfully obvious that you don’t.

      To decide that government is always and forever inherently evil – and ONLY government among organizations is inherently evil – is really just a way to chicken out on all problems and scream like a baby w/butt-rash. This fantasy you guys have of a few rich folks seceding from..um, wherever they are..is just so ludicrous; think about it in practical terms for about 5 minutes.

  13. Roland Petit October 29, 2012 at 7:47 am #

    It’s the lowest level workers who receive the highest level of monitoring.
    Forget about “blue collar” work anymore; it’s “electronic collar” or “electronic dog lease” choker collar for the lowest level of workers. Meanwhile, in the office suites, it’s the wide open spaces where anything goes and there is no monitoring or accountability of anything whatsoever.
    So how does one get from the dog house to the big house? Impossible. Education used to be the key but now even that won’t do it. It’s not the level of education but WHERE you got it. This is a form of cronyism akin to “it’s not what you know but who.” It’s not what your education is but “where you got it.” It’s not exactly who you know but close – it’s where you go. Another avenue closed off to the street dogs who will never get to the office suites. “Legacy admissions” will ensure that the scion of the already ensconsed elites will be able to inherit their fortunes without any bumps in the roads.
    Of course there will always be the useful idiots who will ride roughshod over those slightly more lowly than themselves for whatever perks that provides. We call them supervisors or “trusties.”

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Bank Of England Says Downturn Will Be Identical To Victorian ‘Long Depression’ | Culture of Life News - October 25, 2012

    [...] is the modern take on controlling maids so they work even harder than ever:  In Hollywood Hotel, Maids are Watched by a Dog Named Rex as a  Federal Agency Seeks to Halt Hyatt’s use of Housekeeper Tracking Device.  Anyone who [...]

  2. Wherever you live, it is probably Egypt: Thoughts on Passover | Corey Robin - April 12, 2014

    […] by the parallels with so many surveillance systems in the contemporary workplace, whether it be for maids in a hotel or white-collar workers. Particularly the emphasis on not knowing if you’re being watched or […]

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