FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, February 27
Sarah Lyons, [email protected], 312-385-0603
*SPEAKING PROGRAM & B-ROLL AVAILABLE HERE: www.unitehere1.org/media*
*REPORT AVAILABLE HERE: www.unitehere1.org/NorthwesternHyattCentric*
Workers at hotel owned by Northwestern Memorial HealthCare face barriers to healthcare, have difficulty affording basic necessities
Union’s report finds some workers at the Hyatt Centric Magnificent Mile have no health insurance, rely on public assistance
CHICAGO – Today, UNITE HERE Local 1 released a report which finds that food and beverage workers at a hotel owned by Northwestern Memorial HealthCare and operated by Davidson Hospitality Group face barriers to healthcare and difficulty affording basic necessities. Surveyed workers include cooks, servers, bartenders, room service, and others at the Hyatt Centric Chicago Magnificent Mile located in Streeterville. Of the 33 surveyed workers, 85% are people of color and the majority are immigrants hailing from eight different countries. UNITE HERE Local 1 received survey responses from 33 of the hotel’s 49 food and beverage workers in November and December 2023.
Key findings of the report include:
- 21% of surveyed workers reported that they do not have health insurance.
- 60% of surveyed workers reported experiencing pain at work
- 15% of surveyed workers reported that they have medical debt.
- Over half (55%) of surveyed workers reported having less than $1,000 in savings.
- 1 in 3 (33%) surveyed workers reported that they or a member of their household currently rely on public assistance, such as Medicaid, WIC or Food Stamps.
- 12% of surveyed workers reported that they or their families have gone to a food pantry in the last six months.
Workers of the Hyatt Centric Magnificent Mile, joined by community supporters, held a picket line and speak out in front of the hotel today to highlight the need for Davidson to provide quality, affordable health insurance.
“My first child was born in 2023. I have to work a second job to pay for our health insurance. Having another child is financially out of reach because we can’t afford the delivery fee and hospital stay for my wife. It feels terrible that our expensive health insurance might keep us from having another child,” said Andri Mile, who has worked at the Hyatt Centric Magnificent Mile as a bartender for nearly three years.
“Even though Northwestern Memorial HealthCare owns the hotel where I work, my daughter and I can’t go to Northwestern Hospital because it’s still too expensive. My co-workers and I work hard to take care of the Northwestern community. We deserve to be able to take care of our health, our families, and our communities, too,” said Victor Silva, who has worked as a banquet server at the Hyatt Centric Magnificent Mile for 10 years.
Northwestern Memorial HealthCare and subsidiaries reported total revenue of $8,721,937,000 in the year ending August 31, 2023, and endowment net assets of $338,411,000 at the end of the year ending August 31, 2023.
“Hospitals are meant to be pillars of the community, promising healing and hope. Yet for workers of Northwestern Memorial HealthCare’s Hyatt Centric, access to affordable, quality healthcare is out of reach. These hospitality workers deserve to be able to see a doctor and feed their families,” said Karen Kent, President of UNITE HERE Local 1.
The full report, “What will happen to me if I get sick or hurt?: The Story of Food and Beverage Workers at Northwestern Memorial HealthCare’s Hyatt Centric Chicago Magnificent Mile,” is available at www.unitehere1.org/NorthwesternHyattCentric.