April 13, 2020
Sarah Lyons, (312) 385-0603, firstname.lastname@example.org
Elliott Mallen, (312) 656-5807, email@example.com
UNITE HERE Local 1 Calls on Chicago Hoteliers to Step Up for Hotel Workers
New report by Chicago’s hotel workers union estimates that lost earnings could cost Chicago neighborhoods $5 million every week
CHICAGO – UNITE HERE Local 1, Chicago’s hospitality workers’ union, has released a report, “Chicago Hotel Workers Stay Home, Save Lives – Without Pay,” documenting how the hotel industry’s decision to stop paying hotel workers during the COVID-19 pandemic could cost Chicago neighborhoods an estimated $5 million in lost earnings every week.
Hotel workers held a virtual rally this afternoon to call on hotel employers to do more to support laid off hotel workers.
While stimulus checks and unemployment benefits may provide some future relief, hotel workers needed to immediately find ways to keep food on the table while rent, mortgage payments and utility bills have come due.
“One day I was working, then all of a sudden I wasn’t. I felt like there was no regard for us – the people who make my hotel what it is,” said Latonia Marshall, a room attendant at the Blackstone Hotel. “These companies need to do more to support us.”
UNITE HERE Local 1 represents 7,600 hotel workers, of whom approximately 6,000 live in the City of Chicago, and almost all of them are out of work without pay. The union estimates that hotel workers who live in the ten South and West Side neighborhoods targeted by the City of Chicago’s forward-thinking INVEST South/West initiative could lose $1 million in earnings every week.
These losses follow record-breaking boom years for the Chicago hotel industry. Park Hotels & Resorts – with 2,467 hotel rooms in Chicago, they’re the city’s biggest hotel owner – announced on March 26 that it had $1.3 billion in cash and equivalents on hand – which it would use to pay a previously announced quarterly dividend to shareholders in April.
Jan. 31, 2020
Cambria Hotel Strikers Celebrate Choice Hotels’ Decision to Check Out of 16-Month Hotel Strike
Strikers hold picket line ribbon-cutting ceremony as strike continues at the Hotel One Sixty-Six
CHICAGO – Striking hotel workers at the Cambria Chicago Magnificent Mile are celebrating Choice Hotels International’s decision to check out of the hotel’s 16-month-long strike by removing the Cambria brand name from the property. Workers held a ribbon-cutting ceremony at the hotel, renamed the “Hotel One Sixty-Six”, on Friday morning.
“Since the strike started, the hotel has lost hundreds of thousands of dollars in cancelled business and lost bookings,” said Sam Yolo, a bellman at the One Sixty-Six. “Who can blame Choice Hotels for checking out?”
Fillmore Hospitality, the hotel’s operator, refuses to sign a new contract without increasing workload for hotel housekeepers, a demand not agreed to at any hotel where workers walked out on strike in 2018.
“Why does Fillmore keep trying to put more and more work on us housekeepers?” asked Yolanda Garduño, a room attendant at the One Sixty-Six. “This is one sick, sick hotel.”
Hotel workers have been on strike since September 10, 2018. Originally part of 2018’s citywide hotel strike, the One Sixty-Six is the only remaining hotel on strike. The hotel is owned by the Ohio Public Employees Retirement System.
More information about the strike is available at www.Hotel166MagMileStrike.org.
UNITE HERE Local 1 represents over 15,000 hospitality and food service workers in the City of Chicago and surrounding area.
July 17, 2019
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 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.
For release December 21, 2018
Contact: Noah Carson-Nelson
UNITE HERE Local 1 Awards “Scrooge of the Year” to American Airlines and Gate Gourmet at O’Hare
Chicago, IL — American Airlines and its contracted catering company, Gate Gourmet, were awarded “O’Hare Scrooge of the Year” by UNITE HERE Local 1 today at a union rally at American’s O’Hare Terminal 3.
American Airlines’ caterer, Gate Gourmet, has not raised base wages for its largely immigrant workforce. In contrast, United Airline’s caterer, LSG Sky Chefs, raised base pay at their Chicago kitchen to $13.80 in October, matching the living wage standard set by the City of Chicago for contracted workers at O’Hare and Midway Airports. 60% of Gate Gourmet workers at O’Hare, who cater for American Airlines, earn less than $13.80. Airline catering workers prepare and transport food and beverages for passengers to enjoy inflight.
On one of the busiest travel days of the year, workers took the opportunity to both spread holiday joy and demand pay in line with the airport standard minimum wage.
“American Airlines is being a Scrooge. All I need for Christmas this year is a raise so I can provide a warm home and good food for my family.” said Sheana Spellman, a dishwasher at Gate Gourmet. “We work hard, we do the same work as the people who cater for United, and American needs to tell Gate Gourmet not to be so cheap.”
“American Airlines and Gate Gourmet clearly need a visit from the ghosts that helped Ebenezer Scrooge turn his heart around.” Said UNITE HERE Local 1 President, Karen Kent. “People who cater meals for one of O’Hare’s largest carriers should not be paid less than a living wage. This is not how our City treats people. We have fought to raise the standard at the airport and we will keep up that fight.”
The push for raises comes as American has invested $78 million in 5 new gates at O’Hare and looks to expand further through the O’Hare expansion over the next several years.
“What right have you to be merry?
What reason have you to be merry? You’re poor enough.” [Said Scrooge]
“Come, then,” returned the nephew gaily. “What right have you to be dismal?
What reason have you to be morose? You’re rich enough.”
Scrooge having no better answer ready on the spur of the moment, said,
“Bah!” again; and followed it up with “Humbug.”
– Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol
UNITE HERE Local 1 represents about 3,700 food service workers at Chicago’s O’Hare and Midway International Airports. Learn more at www.UNITEHERE1.org, or on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram at @UNITEHERELocal1.
September 29, 2018
Chicago Hilton workers ratify new contract
New agreement ends strike at the Palmer House Hilton, the Drake Hotel, the Hilton Chicago and DoubleTree Chicago Magnificent Mile
CHICAGO, IL – Today hundreds of Hilton hotel workers ratified a new contract, ending the three-week strike at four more hotels. Workers at the Palmer House Hilton, the Drake Hotel, the Hilton Chicago and DoubleTree Chicago Magnificent Mile will return to work tomorrow.
15 hotels have settled contracts with UNITE HERE Local 1 since the citywide hotel strike began on September 7. The new contracts ensure that hotel workers will keep their healthcare if they’re laid off in the wintertime.
About 3,500 hotel workers are covered by new collective bargaining agreements that guarantee wintertime healthcare. Workers at the Hyatt Regency Chicago, the Hyatt Regency McCormick Place and 9 other hotels are still on strike.
**Photos of Hilton workers at the contract ratification available here: http://bit.ly/2P0zi8G**
The following hotels have recently settled contracts with UNITE HERE Local 1:
- W City Center
- W Lakeshore
- Westin Michigan Avenue
- Westin River North
- JW Marriott
- Hotel Blake
- Hotel Allegro
- Hotel Palomar
- Knickerbocker Hotel
- Ritz-Carlton Hotel
- Palmer House Hilton
- The Drake Hotel
- Hilton Chicago
- DoubleTree Chicago Magnificent Mile
The list of hotels that are still on strike is available at www.ChicagoHotelStrike.org
September 13, 2018
Striking Hotel Workers to hold Magnificent Mile March
Workers to march down Michigan Avenue as citywide hotel strike nears one-week mark
Who: Thousands of striking hotel workers from 26 downtown hotels and supporters
What: Rally and march of striking hotel workers
Where: Rally at Ogden Park Plaza across from the Sheraton (300 E North Water Street), followed by a march north on the Michigan Avenue sidewalk, terminating at Michigan and Oak
When: 1:00PM, Thursday, Sept. 13
Thousands of hotel housekeepers, servers, cooks and doormen walked out on strike at 25 downtown convention and boutique hotels last Friday, and were joined by workers at a 26th hotel earlier this week.
Striking hotels include the Hyatt Regency Chicago, JW Marriott, Sheraton Grand, and Hilton Chicago. Union contracts with UNITE HERE Local 1 expired on August 31, 2018.
Striking hotel workers deserve year-round health insurance, sick days to see a doctor, workloads that keep them healthy, and wages that keep up with the cost of raising a family.
A full list of striking hotels is available at www.ChicagoHotelStrike.org.