FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, November 8
Sarah Lyons, [email protected], 312-385-0603
Selina Hotel Workers ask City of Chicago: Am I Losing My Job?
Workers protest sudden layoffs as Magnificent Mile hotel is slated to shelter unhoused individuals
CHICAGO – Today, hotel workers from the Selina Hotel protested their sudden layoffs near the corner of Michigan and Chestnut on the Magnificent Mile.
On October 31, management at the Selina Hotel, located at 100 E Chestnut St, notified hotel workers that they are being laid off as of this Friday, November 10.
Management told the Union that the hotel will operate under a contract to house migrants. Hotel management later wrote that “no such contract currently exists” but that “Selina could enter into a sublease agreement whereby the Hotel is rented to a third party to house migrants for an extended period.” Earlier today, press reported that the City of Chicago confirmed that the Selina Hotel would be used as a shelter for unhoused individual beginning next month for up to seven months.
The layoff notice came as a shock to hotel workers, given that the hotel had continued to employ them when it provided housing services to migrants earlier this year.
“Last year, our hotel housed asylum seekers, and we all kept our jobs to help clean their rooms and care for them,” said Angeyleah Campbell, a housekeeping supervisor who has worked for 25 years at the Selina Hotel and lives in on Chicago’s Southwest side. “I was proud that my coworkers and I did what we could to help out. So why are we being kicked to the curb this time?”
“I’m ready to welcome anyone who needs shelter to our hotel. They deserve a home and we deserve to keep our jobs,” said Linwei Xiao, a front desk supervisor at the Selina Hotel.
UNITE HERE Local 1 members have stepped up in times of crisis. UNITE HERE Local 1 members welcomed and cared for at-risk Chicagoans, first responders, medical staff, and others who needed a place to stay during the darkest days of the COVID-19 pandemic. While schools were shuttered, UNITE HERE Local 1 members prepared and served more than 21 million free meals for Chicago Public Schools students during the first six months of the pandemic. And at McCormick Place, UNITE HERE Local 1 members worked alongside other union members when the convention center was converted to a field hospital early in the pandemic.
“Throughout the pandemic, our union worked in partnership with our employers and the City of Chicago,” said Karen Kent, President of UNITE HERE Local 1. “Our members always led the way with open hearts. We can do good, together, when we are given the opportunity. When we work in partnership, we will always come up with the best result. UNITE HERE Local 1 members are ready to take care of anyone who is staying at the hotel, whether they are migrants or other vulnerable populations. We are ready to work with whoever the appropriate parties are to ensure that vulnerable populations are cared for by UNITE HERE Local 1 members. Situations like these take a partnership between labor, business, and government to reach a formal agreement to this effect.”