(Press) Chicago-Area Sexual Harassment Survey Reveals Disturbing Numbers

via CBS Chicago: 

The survey found that the industries with the highest levels of harassment are hospitality and food service.

“A national survey says 1 in 3 women are sexually harassed at work. Who here thinks that’s kind of low? We wanted to know about women’s experiences working in Chicago’s hotels and casinos. What we found was shocking.”

Amongst hotel workers, 58 percent of women had been harassed by a guest…

(Press) Unite Here blasts McPier over McCormick Square name

via Crain’s Chicago Business: 

Union workers at McCormick Place aren’t too happy with the new name that the agency that runs the convention center campus is trying to give its neighborhood.

That was the message delivered today by Unite Here Local 1 President Karen Kent at an annual convention of the Rainbow PUSH Coalition in a crusade to push the Metropolitan Pier and Exposition Authority to reconsider the name McCormick Square for its sprawling Near South Side campus…

Hotel Burnham Housekeeping Department Wins Union

BurnhamContact: Jordan Fein
(312) 576-5048

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.

Hotel Monaco Housekeeping Department Wins Union

MonacostrikeCHICAGO – After organizing since November 2014, workers in the housekeeping department at the Hotel Monaco voted in favor of joining UNITE HERE Local 1. With this vote, the Monaco becomes the third unionized hotel operated by Kimpton Hotel and Restaurant Group in Chicago, after the Hotel Palomar and Hotel Allegro, also represented by Local 1. Workers rallied after the votes were counted, calling for Kimpton to begin bargaining a contract in good faith.

“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.


(Press) Union Calls For Firing Of ICE Official Over Mundelein Meatpacking Plant Audit

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

UNITE HERE Calls for Firing of ICE Director after Chicago-Area Meatpacking Raid

New Video Details Impact of Bungled Enforcement Priorities on Immigrant Workers

[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.

Jose EnriquezUNITE 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.

Chicago’s Hotel Burnham housekeepers join downtown pain protests

unnamedContact: Joe Shansky, jshansky@unitehere1.org / (312) 623-5382

Kimpton Hotel and Restaurant Group faces continuing protests about housekeeper treatment

Following demonstrations and picket lines throughout the summer, workers at downtown’s Hotel Burnham are now speaking out about pain on the job.
Hotel Burnham workers plan to rally outside the hotel (1 W. Washington St) from 4:30-6:30 pm on Friday, joined by hospitality workers from across the city. Housekeepers will speak about experiencing pain in their daily work, and deliver a letter asking what management has done to reduce physical stressors for housekeepers.

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.