Chicago – Workers in the Hotel Burnham’s housekeeping department yesterday voted overwhelmingly to join UNITE HERE Local 1. The vote comes after over a year of picket lines, rallies and other actions, and despite vigorous management intimidation that compelled the General Counsel of the National Labor Relations Board to file two complaints against the hotel.
Burnham housekeepers are now calling on Kimpton Hotel and Restaurant Group to immediately recognize the union and begin bargaining. The workers are hoping the hotel will quickly agree to the same wages, health insurance, job protections and other benefits already enjoyed by union workers at Kimpton’s Hotel Allegro and Hotel Palomar.
“My general manager told me I would lose benefits if I voted for the union, but I knew she wasn’t telling me the truth,” said Karina Tufino, who has worked as a housekeeper at the Burnham for 10 years. “I voted for the union because I want a better life for my family, and I am proud of my coworkers for standing strong together through this fight.”
The Hotel Burnham is owned by Lone Star Funds, a private equity company with $38 billion in assets under management as of February 2016.
“Lone Star Funds should tell Kimpton to settle a contract now,” said Silverio Arenas, a houseman at the Burnham. “I’ve worked at this hotel for 15 years, and I shouldn’t have to wait any longer for the same benefits provided to Allegro and Palomar workers.”
Following the vote, all of Kimpton’s Chicago hotels are now unionized. Room attendants at Kimpton’s Hotel Monaco voted overwhelmingly to join Local 1 last December, and will begin negotiating on April 12. Burnham housekeeping workers are hoping to join Monaco workers on April 12 to facilitate a quick settlement at both hotels.
The Hotel Burnham and Atwood Restaurant continues to face prosecution by the NLRB General Counsel for firing server Evan Demma two weeks after he participated in a union protest.
Intimidation by Kimpton managers at the Burnham and Monaco prompted the General Counsel of the National Labor Relations Board to file complaints against Kimpton in April 2015 and January 2016.
UNITE HERE Local 1 represents over 6,500 hotel workers in downtown Chicago.]]>
CHICAGO — On March 21, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) Chicago Regional Office issued a federal complaint against the Ameristar Casino East Chicago which is owned and operated by Pinnacle Entertainment, Inc. The alleged violations include firing a bartender on the basis of her union activity and threatening employees—all alleged to violate employees’ rights under federal labor law.
According to the NLRB complaint, which can be found here, alleged violations by Pinnacle management and select staff at the casino include:
The complaint comes in the midst of an attempt by members of UNITE HERE Local 1 at Ameristar to negotiate a new contract with the casino. The last contract originally expired on October 31, 2012.
“We should have the same benefits as the rest of the unionized casinos in the area” says Jessica Fisch, a cocktail server at the Ameristar Casino for the past 16 years. “Ever since Pinnacle took over in 2013, they’ve been bad for us and for Northwest Indiana. I’m glad the Labor Board is seeking an order that will make them stop doing things that violate our rights.”
The NLRB General Counsel found sufficient basis to prosecute more than 20 allegations of unfair labor practice at Ameristar Casino and will seek remedies that include restoring employees for any losses they may have incurred due to the violations and reimbursing the Union for legal fees associated with the lawsuit. A hearing is scheduled for June 27 in Chicago.
UNITE HERE represents 1,500 casino workers in Indiana.
Waitresses, housekeepers and cocktail servers among group to demonstrate in Daley Plaza after CBS Chicago’s refusal to air the #ComeForward TV ad
CHICAGO — Today, dozens of waitresses, housekeepers and cocktail servers lined the perimeter of Daley Plaza: “He was just flirting,” “She was in a bar, what do you expect?” “It’s just how guys are,” and other commonly heard excuses for sexual harassment were emblazoned across the women’s poster boards.
The women, many of whom are represented by UNITE HERE Local 1, hope the public art project will call attention to CBS Chicago’s refusal to air the #ComeForward TV ad about sexual harassment. As a part of the demonstration, the group delivered a petition to CBS studios across from Daley Plaza calling on the network air the #ComeForward ad.
“When I was a waitress, a customer older than my father tried to make a move on me,” said Local 1 President Karen Kent, in remarks outside the network’s studios. “I was disgusted and ashamed. I never said anything because I thought people would question or blame me – and I want to change that for young women.”
The ad, produced by UNITE HERE Local 1, denounces State Rep. Moylan’s response to a waitress reporting sexual harassment at Rivers Casino and has generated over half a million total views on social media.
“Rep. Moylan condoned sexual harassment when he laughed after that waitress shared her story and now CBS is doing it by refusing to air the #ComeForward ad,” said Carla Smith, a banquet server at the J.W. Marriott, who participated in the public art display in Daley Plaza. “This behavior is unacceptable. CBS should stop silencing women’s stories of sexual harassment.”
Said Kent, “We’re going to make sure more young women see the #ComeForward ad and hear this message: If you speak up, we have your back.”
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.]]>
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.
“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.