Hilton Workers End Strikes in Chicago, San Francisco and Hawaii

Yesterday, Unite Here Local 1 workers at the Hilton Chicago returned to work after a three-day strike. The hotel's employees walked off the job to protest the fact that contract discussions remain unresolved following more than a year of negotiations. According to a statement from the 1,544-room property, through the duration of the strike the hotel operated at an average occupancy of 98 percent; vacated positions were filled with replacement workers and management from other Hilton hotels. In the release, John Wells, general manager of the Hilton Chicago, said, "The union-ordered strike accomplished nothing, other than causing lost wages and gratuities for striking employees." The Chicago strike came two days after workers affiliated with Unite Here Local 5 at the 2,860-room Hilton Hawaiian Village in Waikiki on Oahu began a five-day strike, and three days after Unite Here Local 2, the union's San Francisco branch, announced a six-day strike at the Hilton Union Square. All three affiliates are arguing that Hilton Worldwide is attempting to lock workers into recessionary contracts that include increases in employee health-care expenses, the freezing of pensions and greater workloads, alleging that Blackstone Group, Hilton's parent company, received a $180 million bailout from the federal government. The striking workers have returned to their jobs at all three properties.