(Press – Video) Chicago hotel workers will have access to panic buttons under new ordinance

via FOX 32: Chicago hotel employees are taking a stand against sexual harassment and indecent exposures by guests. A new law has passed to better protect staff including giving them access to panic buttons.

(Press) Hotel Workers Union Celebrates Anti-Harassment Ordinance

via CBS Chicago: As more allegations of powerful men sexually abusing and harassing women come out, the union representing thousands of Chicago hotel workers is celebrating a new ordinance it says will protect them.

Unite Here Local 1 plans to host a celebration at 9 a.m. Tuesday marking the passage last month of what they refer to as the “Hands Off Pants On” ordinance…

(Press) Chicago moves to make hotels ‘No Harvey’ zones for housekeepers

via The Chicago Tribune: Late last week, author and all-around national treasure Barbara Ehrenreich tweeted, “Our current sex harassment discussion is woefully class-skewed. Too much about actresses and not enough about hotel housekeepers.”

Tuesday morning, a group of union leaders, legislators and hotel workers gathered at Chicago’s City Hall to celebrate a newly enacted “Hands Off Pants On” ordinance intended to protect the very housekeepers Ehrenreich mentioned….

(Press) Aldermen approve proposal to protect sexually harassed hotel staff

via Chicago Sun-Times: The ordinance is championed by Rules Committee Chairwoman Michelle Harris (8th) and embraced by Unite Here Local 1 to end what a union leader has called the “sisterhood of silence.”

It would require hotels to provide employees working alone with portable panic buttons — akin to a Medic-Alert worn by senior citizens — that would alert hotel security…

As News Continues to Unfold in Hollywood About Allegations of Sexual Assault Against Film Studio Executive Harvey Weinstein, Chicago City Council Passes an Ordinance to Protect Chicago Hotel Workers from Sexual Harassment and Assault

Ordinance will help ensure hotel workers have panic buttons and other safety measures to protect against sexual violence by guests

CONTACT:
Nora Cay Ryan                                                                          Sarah Lyons
Chicago Federation of Labor                                                     UNITE HERE Local 1
847‐826‐2061                                                                            312-385-0603
ncryan@chicagolabor.org                                                         slyons@unitehere.org

For Immediate Release
October 11, 2017

(CHICAGO, IL) Today, the Chicago City Council voted unanimously to pass the “Hands Off Pants On” ordinance to protect Chicago hotel workers, the majority of whom are women of color and immigrants, from sexual harassment and assault. As stories surface that Hollywood film producer and executive Harvey Weinstein allegedly harassed and sexually assaulted several women for decades, this city ordinance now leads the national conversation in a hopeful direction.22181528_10155671314297305_8119407904543080673_o

“This is a significant step forward in the fight against sexual harassment and assault in the workplace,” said Chicago Federation of Labor President Jorge Ramirez. “Unfortunately, it is a step in only one industry. As we have seen in our national news, there is more work to be done to protect workers across all industries. Every day, the labor movement fights for every worker’s right to a safe and secure work environment. The CFL and our affiliated unions are committed to continuing the fight against sexual harassment and abuse in all industries. I hope other cities follow suit and look at ways to help keep their workers safe.”

The Chicago Federation of Labor and UNITE HERE Local 1 worked with 8th Ward Alderman Michelle Harris to develop the language for the ordinance. The ordinance covers all Chicago hotel workers, both union and non-union, requiring hotels to provide panic buttons to anyone who works alone in guest rooms and restrooms. The ordinance also protects hotel workers from retaliation when they report sexual violence by guests and mandates hotels to implement an anti-sexual harassment policy.

“This is a historic day for our union, for women working in Chicago hotels, and for our City,” said Karen Kent, President of UNITE HERE Local 1. “With this vote to approve the ‘Hands Off Pants On’ ordinance, Chicago will be known not only for world-class hospitality, but also as a place that supports women who speak out about sexual harassment and assault. This law will protect thousands of immigrants and women of color who form the backbone of the hospitality industry, making Chicago a leader in the fight against workplace sexual violence.  As the news emerges out of Hollywood, I hope that what we have accomplished here in Chicago empowers more women to break the ‘Sisterhood of Silence’ and come forward. ”

Alderman Harris introduced the “Hands Off Pants On” ordinance in April 2017 after a survey of 487 women working in Chicagoland hotels and casinos revealed wide-spread sexual harassment by hotel guests. The survey findings were published in a report by UNITE HERE Local 1 in October 2016. The survey found:

  • 58 percent of hotel workers surveyed said they had been sexually harassed by a guest.
  • 49 percent of hotel housekeepers surveyed said guests had exposed themselves, flashed them or answered the door naked.

“I’m proud and humbled to have helped make this ordinance a reality today,” stated Alderman Harris. “These workers are our friends and neighbors and deserve to feel safe at their jobs.”

Cecilia, a Chicago hotel worker, added, “It can be hard to speak out about sexual harassment. I’m so happy that the City of Chicago is listening and standing up for women like me. Knowing I will have a panic button and that I can call for help brings a huge sense of relief. I can’t wait to go back to work and share the news that the City of Chicago has our backs!”

# # # 

The Chicago Federation of Labor is the third‐largest central labor council of the AFL‐CIO in the United States representing approximately 300 local unions comprised of over half a million union members in Chicago and Cook County.

UNITE HERE Local 1 represents over 15,000 hospitality and food service workers in the City of Chicago and surrounding area.

 

Ordinance to Protect Chicago Hotel Workers from Sexual Harassment and Assault Passes the Committee on Workforce Development, Advances to full City Council

CONTACT:
Nora Cay Ryan                                                                              Sarah Lyons
Chicago Federation of Labor                                                     UNITE HERE Local 1
847‐826‐2061                                                                                312-385-0603
ncryan@chicagolabor.org                                                          slyons@unitehere.org

For Immediate Release
October 2, 2017

Ordinance to Protect Chicago Hotel Workers from Sexual Harassment and Assault Passes the Committee on Workforce Development, Advances to full City Council

Ordinance will help ensure hotel workers have panic buttons and other safety measures to protect against sexual violence by guests

(CHICAGO, IL) Today, the Committee on Workforce Development, chaired by 40th Ward Alderman Patrick O’Connor, recommended approval of the “Hands Off Pants On” ordinance to protect Chicago hotel workers, the majority of whom are women of color and immigrants, from sexual harassment and assault. With the Committee’s recommendation for approval, the ordinance will advance to the full City Council for a vote on Wednesday, Oct. 11.

The Chicago Federation of Labor and UNITE HERE Local 1 worked with Alderman Harris to develop the ordinance. The ordinance covers all Chicago hotel workers, whether union or non-union, and requires hotels to provide panic buttons to housekeepers and other hotel workers who work alone in guest rooms and restrooms. The ordinance also protects hotel workers from retaliation when they report sexual violence by guests and requires hotels to implement an anti-sexual harassment policy.

Alderman Harris introduced the “Hands Off Pants On” ordinance in April 2017 after a survey of 487 women working in Chicagoland hotels and casinos revealed wide-spread sexual harassment by hotel guests. The survey findings were published in a report[i] by UNITE HERE Local 1 in October 2016. The survey found:

  • 58 percent of hotel workers surveyed said they had been sexually harassed by a guest.
  • 49 percent of hotel housekeepers surveyed said guests had exposed themselves, flashed them or answered the door naked.

The following quotes were included in today’s testimony.

“No one should ever have to know what this kind of abuse feels like. Unfortunately, these issues are not confined to this industry; it happens to women across all industries. Every day, the labor movement fights for dignity and respect in the workplace, and we fight for every worker’s right to a safe and secure work environment. The CFL is here today to stand with hotel workers and to let this committee know that we are committed to fighting sexual harassment and abuse in all industries.”
–        Jorge Ramirez, President of the Chicago Federation of Labor

“I’m proud and humbled to have helped make this ordinance a reality today. These workers are our friends and neighbors and deserve to feel safe at their jobs.”
–        Alderman Michelle Harris, 8th Ward

“Having a panic button would make me feel safer. To know I can easily call for help if something happens would be such a relief. I’m here today not just for myself but for my co-workers. We deserve to be treated with respect and to feel safe at work.”
–        Cecilia, a Chicago hotel worker

“Today’s advancement of the ‘Hands Off Pants On’ ordinance brings us one step closer to breaking the silence, shame and stigma around sexual violence in the workplace. The ordinance creates urgently needed protections for Chicago hotel workers; for the immigrants, the women of color, the people who clean, cook, and serve for our city every day.”
–        Karen Kent, President of UNITE HERE Local 1, the hospitality workers union

“While progress has been made, thanks to the work of courageous survivors and the determined advocacy of groups like Women Employed, sexual harassment continues to be a barrier to women’s economic advancement. In the case of those women doing low-wage work, the stakes are often higher, leaving them particularly vulnerable and forcing them to choose between their families’ livelihoods and their safety, health and dignity. It’s a choice no worker should have to make.”
–        Sharmili Majmudar, Director of Strategic Partnerships for Women Employed

# # #

The Chicago Federation of Labor is the third‐largest central labor council of the AFL‐CIO in the United States representing approximately 300 local unions comprised of over half a million union members in Chicago and Cook County.

UNITE HERE Local 1 represents over 15,000 hospitality and food service workers in the City of Chicago and surrounding area.

Founded in 1973, Women Employed’s mission is to improve women’s economic status and remove barriers to economic equity.

(Press) Chicago hotels would have to give workers ‘panic buttons’ under plan aldermen advance

via Chicago Tribune: Chicago hotels would be required to provide portable “panic buttons” to workers like housecleaners who venture alone into guests’ rooms, under a plan aldermen advanced Monday. Hotels also would need to post sexual harassment policies and promise workers would not face retribution if they reported sexual harassment or assault by guests. Employees would…