Noble Street Charter School lunchroom workers ratify first union contract

Noble RatificationOn March 1, lunchroom workers at Noble Street Charter School employed by Chartwells ratified their first union contract covering 63 workers. While the city was closing public schools, laying-off thousands of workers with union jobs, and expanding charter schools in which lunchroom jobs are non-union, Noble lunchroom workers joined the union last August in an effort to improve standards for lunchroom workers. Noble lunchroom workers join the 3,000 union lunchroom workers at Chicago Public Schools.

The three-year contract provides sick days for every employee, affordable health care which is free for individuals and only $85 a month for families, and wage increases. Additionally, the contract establishes a joint labor-management committee to ensure that everyone’s rights are respected in the workplace and to deal with operational issues.

Congratulations to Noble committee Aime Cerda, George Clark, Leslie Turner and Rudy Napier with support from CPS lunchroom worker Gloria Drew and Northwestern University housekeeper Valentina Espinosa.

Will Walton Street fulfill its promise to investors to halt worker harassment campaign at Rivers Casino?

On February 19, casino workers from Rivers Casino Pittsburgh, Rivers Casino Des Plaines and Sugarhouse Casino in Philadelphia rallied outside Walton Street Capital’s Chicago headquarters.  Workers stood together to demand an end to a labor dispute that has spread to all three properties overseen by Rush Street Gaming, a company wholly owned by Walton Street principal Neil Bluhm and his family’s trust funds.

Housekeeping victory in new Essex contract

EssexOn February 21, hotel workers at the Essex hotel ratified a new contract that will cover workers for five years.  An overwhelming majority of workers ratified the new contract.

Workers are especially excited for a great victory for housekeepers in the new contract. Starting June 1, 2014, Room Attendants’ room quota will be reduced from 16 to 15 rooms. Additionally, they will all receive a functional cart with space for linen. 

Great work on behalf of the negotiating committee who helped achieve this victory: Zola Redmond and Carmen Gonzalez.

College Scholarship Deadlines Approaching!

Every year, college scholarships are available to union members and their family. Check out the opportunities below!


The deadline to apply for a Union Plus scholarship is quickly approaching! Scholarships are available for union members and their family, ranging from $500 to $4,000.

Applications, including essays and a reference letter, must be submitted by Friday, January 31 at 12PM EST.

For more information about eligibility and how to apply, please click here.


The Chicago Federation of Labor is offering scholarships in the amount of $2,000 to Chicago or suburban high school graduates.

Applications must be submitted by Saturday, March 1.

For more information about eligibility and how to apply, please click here.



Top 10 Achievements in 2013

hyattratification22013 was a year of milestones for UNITE HERE Local 1. From achieving major victories to lots of “firsts,” we’re celebrating a great year! Check out ten great UNITE HERE Local 1 moments from 2013:

  1. We moved in to a new office: 218 S. Wabash Ave., 7th Floor.
  2. We joined thousands in a massive rally downtown protesting CPS closings.
  3. After almost four years, UNITE HERE and Hyatt reached a national agreement.
  4. UNITE HERE Local 1 elected its first woman president.
  5. Cook County President Toni Preckwinkle had lunch with the women of Local 1
  6. First Union-wide picket at Majestic Star Casino in Northwest Indiana.
  7. Marriage Equality passes in Illinois.
  8. Over 500 workers got the union at their job.
  9. For the first time in UNITE HERE Local 1 history, we hosted a Chicago mayor to meet with workers.
  10. Almost $1 Million awarded in grievance wins.

Blue Chip Casino Workers Ratify New Contract

BBC ratificationOn December 21, 2013, Blue Chip Casino workers ratified a new contract covering over 400 workers. Highlights of the contract include maintaining high quality UNITE HERE Health Fund benefits for more than 300 families; preserving established gains in job security and working conditions; and wage increases through 2015.

“To be able to secure our health fund was the best accomplishment of 2013,” said Dominique Wilson, Blue Chip Laundry Attendant.  “I no longer have to worry about what I have to cut from my budget to afford the best care.”

The new contract marks a huge step forward towards strong, middle class jobs for the gaming sector, particularly in Northwest Indiana. An overwhelming majority of workers voted yes.

 “I’m especially proud to say that because we stuck together, we were able to walk away with such a great victory – keeping our health insurance, obtaining wage increases and back pay,” said Jo’Von Lindsey, Blue Chip Snack Bar Attendant. “We are extremely proud to say that we are a fighting union and that we look forward to a new year with a great new contract and victory!”

Congratulations to the Negotiating Committee: Flenard Kohlheim, Pam Saunders, Sharon Coburn, Shiquita Hales, Jo’Von Lindsey, Dominique Wilson, Christina Rodriguez and Jenida Manley.

97 CPS lunchroom workers headed back to work!

For two years, lunchroom workers in Chicago Public Schools have led the Let’s Cook campaign to bring more freshly cooked food into their cafeterias.  They celebrated a victory earlier this year when CPS committed to end a program that during the 2012-2013 school year served previously frozen, pre-packaged meals in 25% of schools.