CHICAGO — Today UNITE HERE Local 1 is releasing a television ad challenging the behavior that keeps young women from reporting sexual harassment. Featuring Karen Kent, President of UNITE HERE Local 1, the ad calls out the behavior of Illinois State Representative Marty Moylan.
In the ad, President Kent reveals that Representative Moylan laughed after a 21 year-old waitress came forward to share her story of sexual harassment while working at Rivers Casino. Representative Moylan’s 55th district includes Des Plaines, IL where Rivers Casino is located.
UNITE HERE Local 1 will push out the ad in digital media with today’s launch of www.come-forward.org. The union is in the process of securing air time on broadcast television in the Chicago market.
“That young woman came forward. That is why I made this video. To call out the behavior that keeps other young women silent. And I want your help to make sure more young women see it,” states President Kent in an open letter (see full text of letter here).
“Representative Moylan’s behavior demonstrates a need for a very public challenge,” says President Kent. “We need to show our daughters, nieces, friends and colleagues that we are behind them, that we believe in them, that we’ve been there, and we’re going to end it. I invite leaders, entrepreneurs, activists, public officials to step up and support the young women, the women with the fewest resources, who are making their way in the world.”
UNITE HERE Local 1, Chicago’s hospitality workers union, represents over 15,000 hotel and food service workers in Chicago and casino workers in Northwest Indiana.]]>
“It’s been a long fight, and I am so proud that we decided to join the union today,” said Maricela Gonzalez, a Monaco housekeeper for 15 years and mother of three. “This is the first step to achieving real respect and dignity in our work.”
“We’ve marched in the rain, in the snow, in the sunshine, and today makes it all worth it,” says Mayra Muñoz, who has worked at the hotel for 14 years.
In April, Monaco housekeepers walked out on strike. During the summer they held regular pickets in front of the hotel, calling for an end to pain on the job.
The General Counsel of the National Labor Relations Board issued a complaint against the hotel, alleging intimidation, harassment, and other federal labor law violations. Kimpton settled the charges to avoid further litigation.
UNITE HERE Local 1, Chicago’s hospitality workers union, represents over 15,000 hotel and food service workers in Chicago and casino workers in Northwest Indiana.
via Progress Illinois:
UNITE HERE says a Chicago official with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) should be fired over an immigration audit at a unionized meat packing plant in Mundelein.
The recent audit at the Ruprecht Company by ICE has led to eight arrests and 36 firings or resignations, according to UNITE HERE, which represents workers at the plant.
On Wednesday, the union release a new video about the audit and its impact on workers at Ruprecht.
Read more: http://progressillinois.com/news/content/2015/11/19/union-calls-firing-ice-official-over-mundelein-meatpacking-plant-audit]]>
[Chicago, IL] One year ago, President Obama reiterated his immigration enforcement priorities and announced an Executive Order that would have provided deportation relief for nearly five million undocumented workers in the U.S. By contrast, workers at Ruprecht Company, a meatpacking plant in Mundelein, IL, have faced arrests or firings after Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) audited the company. Now, UNITE HERE and allies are calling for the firing of a local ICE official who is in charge of ICE’s Chicago Field Office.
UNITE HERE, the union representing Ruprecht workers, is releasing a video documenting the story at Ruprecht and calling for local accountability for the Ruprecht raid, which resulted in 8 arrests and 36 firings or resignations. Watch the video at www.fireICEnow.org.
“Our members are hardworking people, building roots and providing for their families, who contribute to the local economy. The disruption to their families and work lives did not do anyone any good,” says Maria Elena Durazo, Vice President of Civil Rights & Immigration at UNITE HERE. “The actions of ICE officials in this case are clearly inconsistent with the President’s stated enforcement objectives.”
In response, today UNITE HERE is issuing a letter to Secretary Johnson, the head of the Department of Homeland Security, calling for the firing of the Chicago Field Office Director, Ricardo Wong. Wong presides over Enforcement Removal Operations for the state and region.
UNITE HERE believes that ICE has no legitimate business at Ruprecht, due to the Revised Memorandum of Understanding between the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the Department of Labor (DOL) which states: “ICE agrees to refrain from engaging in civil worksite enforcement activities at a worksite that is the subject of an existing DOL investigation of a labor dispute.”
For months, UNITE HERE, joined by dozens of immigrant, faith and labor leaders, has appealed to Secretary Johnson to rescind the Ruprecht audit letter, provide relief to families, and clarify how the administration intends to prevent ICE from interfering in labor disputes. Congressman Luis Gutierrez (D-IL) called the inspection “needless and harmful collateral damage to…families and children.” As of today, the union has received no response.
“Proceeding with the audit at Ruprecht after being notified about the labor dispute was inappropriate,” says Father Clete Kiley of the Archdiocese of Chicago. “Someone needs to be held accountable.”
UNITE HERE represents 270,000 women and men across North America who work in the hotel, gaming, food service, manufacturing, textile, distribution, laundry, transportation, and airport industries.]]>
Today’s demonstration follows an April strike for a fair process to organize at the Hotel Monaco. Hotel Monaco and Hotel Burnham are both operated by Kimpton Hotel and Restaurant Group.
“When I get home from work, my body hurts so much that I can’t play with my son.” says Karina Tufino, a 10-year housekeeper at the Burnham. “Why should I have to choose between doing my job well and being a good mother?”
From 2013-2014, the hotel’s OSHA records indicated that workers in various job classifications throughout the hotel and restaurant reported 16 injuries resulting in a total of 122 days of lost work. Reported injuries included lacerations, back strains, falls on stairs, a contusion, and a burn.
In September 2015, UNITE HERE Local 1 surveyed 13 out of the approximately 17 members of the Hotel Burnham’s housekeeping department, including 8 who identified as housekeepers (room attendants). All surveyed housekeepers reported experiencing pain at work (responding affirmatively to the question “do you ever experience pain at work?”). 63% of surveyed housekeepers said that their pain has prevented them from participating in family activities. 46% of all surveyed employees in the housekeeping department reported taking pain relievers, citing examples such as Tylenol or Advil.
“We can’t keep letting our bodies suffer like this,” says Vina Arcia, who has worked at the hotel for 5 years. “At the end of each day, I can barely move. At night, it’s difficult to sleep. Something needs to change.”
Workers at both hotels have been organizing for a fair process to form a union since November 2014. Kimpton is facing new federal unfair labor practice charges filed by UNITE HERE Local 1 after settling earlier charges filed in 2014. The government has not yet decided whether to prosecute.
The Hotel Burnham is owned by Lone Star Funds, a Dallas-based private equity manager. Kimpton Hotel and Restaurant Group was purchased by Intercontinental Hotels Group PLC (LON:IHG) last December.
UNITE HERE Local 1, Chicago’s hospitality workers union, represents over 15,000 hotel and food service workers in Chicago and casino workers in Northwest Indiana.
“Hotel Monaco Workers Protest Working Conditions”, 7/31 Fox 32: http://www.myfoxchicago.com/story/29678246/hotel-monaco-workers-protest-working-conditions
“Protesta del trabajadores del hotel” 7/31 Univision Chicago: http://chicago.univision.com/videos/video/2015-07-31/protestas-trabajadores-hotel
As Chicago braces for Lollapalooza crowds this weekend, housekeepers, laundry workers, and restaurant workers at the Loop’s Hotel Monaco are calling for an end to pain that housekeepers experience on the job.
Monaco workers, a majority of whom are immigrant women, picketed the hotel throughout the day on July 31st, joined by union and non-union hospitality workers from across the city. Workers confronted their managers with safety concerns, followed by a press conference with testimonies about workplace conditions outside of the hotel at 225 N. Wabash Ave.
”We’re tired of working in pain,” says Mayra Muñoz, a housekeeper at the hotel for 14 years. “It has gotten to the point where I can barely lift my arms or bend down without feeling sore.”
UNITE HERE Local 1 surveyed 18 out of the approximately 29 members of the Hotels el Monaco’s housekeeping department in June and July 2015, including 14 women who identified as housekeepers. All workers who responded reported experiencing pain at work (responding affirmatively to the question “do you ever experience pain at work?”) 78% of respondents reported taking pain relievers, citing examples such as Tylenol or Advil. 72% reported having woken up during the night in pain.
Housekeepers consistently identified lifting heavy mattresses as a source of pain. Repeated activities like this can cause excessive stress on the back and shoulders. 67% of all respondents reported pain or discomfort in their right shoulder during the past year that they attributed to work and 78% reported the same in their lower back.
“I get home and collapse,” said Maricela Gonzalez, a Monaco housekeeper for 15 years and mother of three. “I can’t play with my children. I can’t cook for my family. I’m just exhausted.”
Half of the respondents said that their pain has prevented them from participating in family activities.
“Kimpton advertises that they believe in ‘empowering women and supporting their aspirations,’” says Gonzalez. “But we can’t pursue our aspirations when work leaves us exhausted and in pain.”
In the letter delivered to hotel managers, Monaco workers called on management to describe what it has done to reduce physical stressors for housekeepers. In 2012, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) identified a series of recommendations to a different Chicago hotel employer for reducing housekeeper injury risk, steps such as providing long-handled tools and reducing significant lifting tasks. Workers will also request copies of any job hazard analyses, workplace studies, or ergonomic evaluations that Kimpton has conducted as they have a right to do under OSHA rules.
Housekeepers walked out on strike in April at the Hotel Monaco for a fair process to organize a union. Since then, the General Counsel of the National Labor Relations Board issued a complaint against the hotel, alleging intimidation, harassment, and other federal labor law violations. Kimpton settled the charges to avoid further litigation, but new charges have been filed against Kimpton’s Hotel Burnham.
The Hotel Monaco is owned by Xenia Hotels and Resorts (NYSE:XHR), a recently spun-off affiliate of Inland American Real Estate Trust Inc. Kimpton Hotel and Restaurant Group was purchased by Intercontinental Hotels Group PLC (LON:IHG) last December.
In the past month, immigrant union workers at a Chicago-area meatpacking plant have been subjected to fear and arrests, and will be subjected to, in the words of Congressman Luis Gutierrez, “needless and harmful collateral damage to…families and children.”
For decades, UNITE HERE Local 1 has represented workers at Ruprecht Company, based in Mundelein, IL. Local 1’s collective bargaining agreement expired in August 2013, resulting in an ongoing labor dispute since then.
In January 2015, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) sent a subpoena for I-9 forms and notice of inspection to Ruprecht. Several months later, based on the ICE inspection, Ruprecht disregarded its bargaining obligation to Local 1 in violation of the National Labor Relations Act, prolonging the labor dispute.
Local 1 believes that ICE has no legitimate business at Ruprecht, due to the Revised Memorandum of Understanding between the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the Department of Labor (DOL) which states: “ICE agrees to refrain from engaging in civil worksite enforcement activities at a worksite that is the subject of an existing DOL investigation of a labor dispute.”
The dispute between Ruprecht and Local 1 over the terms of a new collective bargaining agreement and Ruprecht’s use of temporary workers since the audit, falls under this memorandum.
In early June 2015, Local 1 requested copies of Ruprecht’s communications with ICE regarding the I-9 audit. The company responded by falsely stating it had no documents responsive to the request.
On June 26th, Local 1 members at Ruprecht engaged in an unplanned work stoppage to demand they be given information about the ICE audit. The same day, the union filed two unfair labor practice charges with the NLRB against Ruprecht for violating its duty to bargain.
In early July, ICE detained and arrested eight Ruprecht employees at their homes, including three members of UNITE HERE.
At a July 16th bargaining session, Ruprecht withdrew a tentative agreement on medical benefits and made a proposal to stop providing benefits through Local 1’s Taft-Hartley fund. At the same bargaining session, the company announced that it would be terminating 109 employees, including UNITE HERE members, between July 24th and August 7th.
Actions & Outreach:
Since the June 26th work stoppage, Father Clete Kiley, UNITE HERE Director for Immigration and a priest of the Archdiocese of Chicago and Maria Elena Durazo, UNITE HERE General Vice President of Immigration, Civil Rights and Diversity, have been conducting regular outreach to national political, labor and faith allies. Illinois faith leaders held a prayer service and blessing for Ruprecht workers outside of the Mundelein plant on July 3rd.
In mid-July, Congressman Luis Gutierrez organized a listening session for workers and their families, followed by a prayer service at St. Peter’s Church in Chicago’s Loop. The following day, Congressman Gutierrez sent a letter to DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson which read in part, “In addition to throwing families into crisis, the investigation may also result in undermining union activity and labor protections and rights in the workplace.” The letter requested that DHS end the I-9 investigation at Ruprecht.
UNITE HERE President D. Taylor has also sent a letter to Secretary Johnson requesting ICE suspend the audit while the NLRB investigates unfair labor practice charges at Ruprecht, and meet with UNITE HERE and immigrant advocates.
Next steps & demands:
UNITE HERE has requested an in-person meeting with Secretary Johnson and Secretary Perez to discuss requests to:
• Rescind the Ruprecht audit and advise the company that it is not required to take any action on the basis of the previous notice;
• Provide affirmative relief to the affected employees; and
• Clarify how the administration intends to prevent ICE from interfering in the enforcement of labor law.
We also encourage individuals and organizations to share any similar experiences and lessons learned that may be helpful in our efforts to protect the livelihoods of the union workers at Ruprecht Company.
Click here and here to view photos of recent Ruprecht-related events. Press materials can be found here and here.
Ruprecht in the news:
“Liberan trabajadores detenidos por ICE,” Telemundo (Video): http://www.telemundochicago.com/noticias/Liberan-trabajadores-detenidos-por-ICE-314736991.html
“¿Inspecciones de ICE en el trabajo? Resultado de una auditoría en la empresaRuprecht Company, varias personas han sido detenidas por ICE en Chicago,” Univision (Video): http://video.univision.mobi/videos/video/2015-07-13/detenidos-ice-chicago-resultado-empresa-auditoria?id=618393
“More Than A Dozen Children Plead For Immigration Officials To Release Their Fathers,” 7/12, CBS Local News: http://chicago.cbslocal.com/2015/07/12/more-than-a-dozen-children-plead-for-immigration-officials-to-release-their-fathers/
“ICE arresta a varios trabajadores latinos,” Univision (Video): http://chicago.univision.com/videos/video/2015-07-10/ice-arresta-trabajadores-latinos-ruprecht-company
“Faced With I-9 Immigration Raid During Negotiations, Chicago Meatpacking Workers Walked Off the Job,” 7/9, Yana Kunichoff, In These Times: http://inthesetimes.com/working/entry/18176/confronted_with_an_immigration_raid_during_negotiations_meatpacking_workers
“Update: Immigration audit prompts strike at Ruprecht,” 6/29, Erica Shaffer, Meat + Poultry: http://www.meatpoultry.com/articles/news_home/Business/2015/06/Audit_prompts_strike_at_Ruprec.aspx?ID=%7B1DC2B479-F2DB-43FF-B068-C92A079A4E19%7D&cck=1
“Empleados latinos protestan contra auditoría de inmigración,” 6/27, EFE/Univision: http://chicago.univision.com/noticias/chicago/article/2015-06-27/empleados-latinos-ruprecht-huelga-auditorias-ice
“100 workers strike at Mundelein meatpacking firm,” 6/26, Micah Maidenberg, Crain’s Chicago Business: http://www.chicagobusiness.com/article/20150626/NEWS05/150629805/100-workers-strike-at-mundelein-meatpacking-firm