Today, more than 1000 housekeepers, teachers from across the state of Illinois, and community allies held a special joint demonstration at the Hyatt Regency. Like the billionaire Kochs in Wisconsin, the Pritzkers in Chicago, who run Hyatt, are contributing funds to back legislation that attacks the hard-won rights of working people in this country. More than 1000 union members and allies picketed at Hyatt before marching to Daley Plaza to join thousands more participating in the “WE ARE ONE” action in Chicago, sponsored by the AFL-CIO, in protest of attacks on workers’ rights nationally.
In Illinois, the billionaire Pritzkers who run Hyatt have contributed hundreds of thousands of dollars to Stand for Children’s Illinois political action committee, which is pushing a “reform package” in Springfield that would weaken teacher tenure and effectively eliminate the ability of teachers to strike. In the hotel industry, Hyatt Hotels is leading the fight against middle class jobs for hotel workers. Hyatt workers in Chicago have been in a protracted contract dispute with Hyatt Hotels (NYSE: H) and have taken part in a wave of demonstrations in recent months, protesting Hyatt and its billionaire ownership family, the Pritzkers.
Participants in today’s rally at Hyatt included hundreds of members of UNITE HERE Local 1, Chicago’s hospitality workers union, the Chicago Teachers Union (CTU), the Illinois Federation of Teachers (IFT), including IFT President Daniel Montgomery, the Illinois Education Association (IEA), including IEA President Ken Swanson, and community allies in the Grassroots Collaborative.
“We are delighted that the teachers are with us today, standing together against the powerful financial interests of the billionaire Pritzker Family here in Chicago, who not only own the Hyatt Hotel chain but also are backing Stand For Children, an initiative that seeks to undermine teachers’ collective bargaining rights in Illinois,” says Henry Tamarin, the President of UNITE HERE Local 1. “In Wisconsin, it is the Kochs that are the billionaires behind the attack on workers’ rights. In Illinois, it’s the Pritzkers.”
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. The Chicago Teachers Union represents 30,000 teachers and educational support personnel working in the Chicago Public Schools and, by extension, the students and families they serve. CTU, an affiliate of the American Federation of Teachers and the Illinois Federation of Teachers, is the third largest teachers’ local in the country and the largest local in Illinois. IEA is an association of more than 133,000 members composed of Illinois elementary and secondary teachers, higher education faculty and staff, educational support professionals, retired educators and college students preparing to become teachers. The Illinois Federation of Teachers is a union of 103,000 women and men in a wide range of professions who are dedicated to improving the lives of IFT members and providing quality education and public services for Illinois students and citizens. Grassroots Collaborative is a community-labor coalition working on economic justice in Chicago and statewide.