Workers tell Ohio Pension System: Your Hotel Strike Hurts Ohio Pension Investment

Press Release
July 17, 2019

Contact: 
Elliott Mallen, 312-656-5807, emallen@unitehere1.org
Marcos Feldman, 312-206-3407, mfeldman@unitehere.org

Workers tell Ohio Pension System: Your Hotel Strike Hurts Ohio Pension Investment

Strikers at hotel owned by the Ohio Public Employees Retirement System to update pension fund on the financial impact of their boycott

COLUMBUS, OH – Striking workers from the Cambria Chicago Magnificent Mile hotel travelled to Columbus today to update the Ohio Public Employees Retirement System, the hotel’s owner, on the loss of business suffered during their 10-month strike.

Since the strike began, at least 17 organizations or events estimated to be worth approximately $300,000 in hotel business have cancelled room blocks, relocated events, or removed the hotel from promotional materials.

Hotel workers and supporters visited OPERS’ Columbus office to deliver an update on the boycott’s impact and provide copies of petitions calling on OPERS to end the strike.

“As a bellman, I’ve heard customers tell me that they’re staying away until the strike is over,” said Sam Yolo, a bellman at the Cambria. “Ohio public employees, retirees and taxpayers need to know that OPERS’ failure to end the strike has put their investment in this hotel at risk.”

The update comes amid calls from lawmakers and the Ohio AFL-CIO to end the strike at the Cambria.

“The Cambria’s refusal to end the strike is bad for Chicago hotel workers, and it’s bad for Ohio public employees and retirees,” said Ohio AFL-CIO President Tim Burga. “We need to do right by workers and pension participants and bring this strike to an end.”

Part of a citywide 26-hotel strike that began in September, OPERS’ hotel is the only remaining Chicago hotel on strike. The hotel is demanding that housekeepers clean more rooms, a concession not granted at any other hotel that saw a strike last fall.

The hotel’s attorney estimated that it would save about $222,000 in the first year of a proposed labor contract by raising the workload for the Cambria’s housekeepers.

The hotel is operated by Fillmore Hospitality, a firm co-owned by OPERS’ former real estate investments director.

More information about the strike is available at www.CambriaHotelStrike.org.

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.