Hotel Workers Strike in Chicago
They want year-round health insurance for their members
Hotel workers in Chicago are entering their second week on strike. The members of UNITE HERE Local 1 work at 26 of the biggest hotels in Chicago.
The affected hotels include Cambria Chicago Magnificent Mile, Hyatt Regency Chicago, JW Marriott, Sheraton Grand, and Hilton Chicago. The strike began on September 7th after the union contract ran out on August 31st and a new deal could not be reached. The strike includes thousands of Chicago hotel housekeepers, servers, cooks and doormen.
Many hotels in Chicago significantly reduce staff during the winter months, leading to many of the UNITE HERE members being laid off. Those that aren’t, are expected to pick up the slack essentially doing two people’s jobs. While those members are laid off they lose their health benefits. This is the main sticking point in the negotiations as the union wants full year healthcare for the members.
“Hotels may slow down in the wintertime, but I still need my diabetes medication when I’m laid off. Nobody should lose their health benefits just because it’s cold out. Full-time jobs should have year-round benefits,” said Q. Rivers, a house attendant at the Palmer House Hilton. “They work us like dogs when it’s busy and then kick us to the curb in the winter.”
Click here for a full list of hotels on strike and watch a video from Local 1 about the strike below.