by Michael J. Shapiro | August 20, 2018
More than 3,200 Chicago-area hotel workers voted to authorize a strike if a deal isn't reached by the end of this month, according to Unite Here Local 1, which represents more than 15,000 hospitality workers in the region. According to the union, 97 percent of those present voted yes on the strike authorization.
Workers are registering for picket shifts this week at 30 area hotels, including many popular meetings hotels in downtown Chicago. Among affected properties are the Hilton Chicago; Hyatt Regency Chicago; Hyatt Regency McCormick Place; JW Marriott Chicago; Palmer House, a Hilton Hotel; Sheraton Grand Chicago; W City Center; W Lakeshore; Westin Michigan Ave., and many more.
According to a video posted by Unite Here Local 1, area workers are seeking affordable family health care, pensions, job security, protection against discrimination and protection against sexual harassment, among other assurances.
Chicago welcomed more than 55 million visitors in 2017 and hotels brought in more than $2.3 billion in revenue last year, both records, according to the city. "We know the companies can afford our demands," concluded "Bobby" (pictured), a Chicago banquet organizer appearing in the union video.