Workers tell Ohio Pension System: Your Hotel Strike Hurts Ohio Pension Investment

Press Release
July 17, 2019

Contact: 
Elliott Mallen, 312-656-5807, emallen@unitehere1.org
Marcos Feldman, 312-206-3407, mfeldman@unitehere.org

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 update comes amid calls from lawmakers and the Ohio AFL-CIO to end the strike at the Cambria.

“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.

UNITE HERE Local 1 Awards “Scrooge of the Year” to American Airlines and Gate Gourmet at O’Hare

For release December 21, 2018

Contact: Noah Carson-Nelson

ncarsonnelson[at]unitehere1.org

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

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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.

Chicago Hilton workers ratify new contract

Press Release
September 29, 2018

Contact: 
Elliott Mallen, 312-656-5807, emallen@unitehere1.org
Sarah Lyons, 312-385-0603, slyons@unitehere1.org

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:

  • Sheraton
  • 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

Striking Hotel Workers to hold Magnificent Mile March

Press Advisory
September 13, 2018

Contact: 
Elliott Mallen, 312-656-5807, emallen@unitehere1.org
Sarah Lyons, 312-385-0603, slyons@unitehere1.org

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

WhereRally 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.

UNITE HERE Local 1 Applauds Democratic Attorneys General Association for Moving Fall Conference to Show Support for Strike in Chicago 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 
September 12, 2018

Contact: 
Elliott Mallen, 312-656-5807, emallen@unitehere1.org
Lizzie Ulmer, 269-271-2331, lizzie@democraticags.org

UNITE HERE Local 1 Applauds Democratic Attorneys General Association for Moving Fall Conference to Show Support for Strike in Chicago 

CHICAGO, IL – In response to the Democratic Attorneys General Association (DAGA) moving its Fall Quarterly Policy Program Conference from the JW Marriott to another location in Chicago to show support for workers, UNITE HERE and UNITE HERE Local 1 applauded the Democratic Attorneys General Association for its commitment to supporting workers.

“We applaud the decision of the Democratic Attorneys General Association to stand by the thousands of hospitality workers in Chicago and move their conference site,” said Karen Kent, President of Unite Here Local 1. “We are proud of our members who are making their voices heard this week in Chicago—and we are proud of the Democratic Attorneys General Association for listening.”

Thousands of Chicago hotel housekeepers, servers, cooks and doormen have stopped working and are on strike for year-round healthcare, workloads that keep them healthy, and wages that keep up with the cost of raising a family. Hotel workers are on strike at 26 downtown convention and boutique hotels. Some of the affected 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.

“Hotels may slow down in the wintertime, but I still need my diabetes medication when I’m laid off. Nobody should lose their health benefits just because it’s cold out. Full-time jobs should have year-round benefits,” said Q. Rivers, a house attendant at the Palmer House Hilton.

DAGA is the only committee dedicated to electing and supporting Democratic Attorneys General. The committee provides political and policy support to Democratic Attorneys General and candidates in their mission to protect civil rights, promote progress and diversity, fight corruption, and ensure the law is applied fairly for all of those that live and work in America.

This week, DAGA was slated to hold its Fall policy conference at the JW Marriott. After the news of the strike, the committee worked tirelessly with UNITE HERE to ensure that Democratic AGs, candidates, and staff would not have to cross a picket-line and ultimately, they moved locations.

Citywide Hotel Strike Grows to 26 Hotels

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 11, 2018 

CONTACT:
Sarah Lyons
(312) 385-0603
slyons@unitehere1.org

Elliott Mallen
(312) 656-5807
emallen@unitehere1.org

Citywide Hotel Strike Grows to 26 Hotels

Cambria Magnificent Mile workers walk off the job as strike enters Day 5

CHICAGO – Workers at the Cambria Chicago Magnificent Mile hotel are joining thousands of hotel workers on strike. Their walkout comes as the citywide Chicago hotel strike enters its fifth day and shows no sign of slowing.

Thousands of hotel housekeepers, servers, cooks and doormen walked out on strike at 25 downtown convention and boutique hotels last Friday. Affected 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.

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

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Downtown Chicago Hotel Workers Begin Strike

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 7, 2018 

CONTACT:
Sarah Lyons
(312) 385-0603
slyons@unitehere1.org

Elliott Mallen
(312) 656-5807
emallen@unitehere1.org

Downtown Chicago Hotel Workers Begin Strike

CHICAGO, IL – Thousands of Chicago hotel housekeepers, servers, cooks and doormen have stopped working and are on strike.

Hotel workers are striking for year-round health care.

“Hotels may slow down in the wintertime, but I still need my diabetes medication when I’m laid off. Nobody should lose their health benefits just because it’s cold out. Full-time jobs should have year-round benefits,” said Q. Rivers, a house attendant at the Palmer House Hilton.

“They work us like dogs when it’s busy and then kick us to the curb in the winter,” said Rivers.

Striking hotel workers deserve sick days to see a doctor, workloads that keep them healthy, and wages that keep up with the cost of raising a family.

Hotel workers are on strike at 25 downtown convention and boutique hotels. Affected 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.

A full list of striking hotels is available at www.ChicagoHotelStrike.org.

***Striking hotel workers and union spokespeople will be available for interviews all day beginning at 5:00AM on Friday at the Palmer House Hilton at 17 E Monroe or by request.*** 

***Spanish-language interviews will be available at the Sheraton Grand Chicago from 5:00AM until 1:30PM or by request. ***

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

UNITE HERE Local 1 Rings In a New Day for Chicago Hotel Workers As City’s Landmark “Hands Off Pants On” Law Takes Full Effect

UNITE HERE Local 1 Rings In a New Day for Chicago Hotel Workers As City’s Landmark “Hands Off Pants On” Law Takes Full Effect

For Immediate Release

Media Contacts:

Sarah Lyons
slyons@unitehere.org
(312) 385-0603

 

City officials and labor leaders join Chicago hotel workers to mark the day by which Chicago hotels must provide panic buttons to hotel housekeepers who work alone to help protect from sexual harassment and assault.

 

CHICAGO, IL – Today, dozens of Chicago hotel workers, city officials and labor leaders gathered to celebrate the date that Chicago’s “Hands Off Pants On” law takes full effect. The law to help protect Chicago hotel workers from sexual harassment and assault by guests was championed by UNITE HERE Local 1 and the Chicago Federation of Labor and requires Chicago hotels to provide all hotel housekeepers who work alone with panic buttons. This new innovative city policy places Chicago at the forefront of a roiling national conversation about sexual harassment.

 

“Everyone who works in Chicago deserves safe, secure and empowering professional environments in which to do their jobs,” said Mayor Rahm Emanuel. “Those who have been willing to speak out about their experiences, and the countless others who have suffered in silence, deserve not just our respect, but our sustained efforts to prevent, prohibit and punish harassment whenever and wherever it occurs. This ordinance makes it clear that sexual harassment is not just inexcusable and inappropriate, it is illegal.”

The event kicked off with remarks from Chicago City Clerk Anna Valencia, Alderman Michelle Harris of Chicago’s 8th Ward, the lead sponsor of the ordinance, and Secretary-Treasurer Don V. Villar of the Chicago Federation of Labor.

 

“Women have led the movement for justice and change from the hospitality industry to Springfield to Hollywood. Today shows clear action and sends a message across Chicago, and our country, to all women in the hospitality industry that they’re not alone and that we stand with them,” said City Clerk Valencia.

 

Alongside the women hospitality workers of UNITE HERE Local 1 who led the campaign for this innovative safety policy, attendees chimed bells and musical triangles to “ring in” a new day for Chicago women and honor all those who have broken the silence around sexual harassment. The Selah Youth Choir of Saint Sabina’s Catholic Church, led by director Sam Williams and producer Plu Harmon, gave a special performance to mark the historic day. Large-scale artwork to promote awareness about the panic button legislation was unveiled in advance of installation in bus shelters around downtown Chicago. (See artwork here: www.handsoffpantson.org/art/)

 

“Today marks a new day for the women working in Chicago hotels. Our City came together to support these women who broke the silence around sexual harassment,” said Karen Kent, President of UNITE HERE Local 1, who began her career as a waitress. “This support will be felt by thousands of hotel workers who receive their panic button today. We want them to know: We hear you. We are with you. You are not alone.”

 

Said Kimmie, a Chicago hotel housekeeper, “I’m proud that we spoke out together and won protections for women across the city. We deserve to work without fear. This panic button makes me feel safer. Knowing we have the support of my union and the City means I won’t be afraid to speak out if something happens.”

 

UNITE HERE Local 1 and the Chicago Federation of Labor spearheaded the “Hands Off Pants On” campaign and legislative initiative long before the #MeToo movement caught hold. In 2016, a team of six women from UNITE HERE Local 1 surveyed nearly 500 Chicagoland hospitality workers and found that 58% of hotel workers surveyed had been sexually harassed by a guest and 49% of hotel housekeepers surveyed said a guest had exposed themselves, flashed them, or answered the door naked.  The survey found that women working as hotel housekeepers are particularly vulnerable because they often work alone and are isolated in the confines of a guest room. The survey found that 96% of hotel housekeepers surveyed said they would feel safer if they had a panic button.

 

In response, the Chicago Federation of Labor and the UNITE HERE Local 1 hospitality workers, along with lead sponsor Alderman Michelle Harris, advocated for the “Hands Off Pants On” ordinance. The ordinance requires Chicago hotels to provide panic buttons to all hotel workers who clean, restock, or take inventory alone in guest rooms and rest rooms, protects hotel workers from retaliation when they report sexual violence by guests, and requires hotels to implement anti-sexual harassment policies.

 

“In many instances these young ladies were afraid to report the unwelcomed advances for fear of not being believed, and subsequently fired,” said Alderman Harris. “If they couldn’t escape the room they had no way of seeking help. With the panic buttons, that is no longer the case.”

 

The ordinance was unanimously approved by the Chicago City Council in October 2017, just as news of allegations surrounding Mr. Weinstein in Hollywood began to surface. The new law, which takes full effect on July 1, 2018 will ensure that thousands of Chicago hotel housekeepers will have a panic button and be able to call for help immediate, on-site help if they are sexually harassed or are in danger.

 

“I applaud our sisters and brothers at Local 1 for fighting the good fight, fighting for each other, for defending each other, and transforming the work place,” said Secretary-Treasurer Villar of the Chicago Federation of Labor.

 

UNITE HERE Local 1 and the Chicago Federation of Labor launched the “Hands Off Pants On” campaign in October 2016 with a groundbreaking survey and video featuring male union leaders. Now, Chicago’s panic button legislation is poised to become a national model, as similar efforts gain momentum across the country. Sacramento County passed panic button legislation mirroring Chicago in February 2018. In January 2018, a bill was introduced in the California General Assembly that would mandate panic buttons for hotel workers statewide. Voters in Long Beach, CA may see the question of panic buttons for hotel housekeepers on the ballot the November 2018. Seattle passed panic button legislation in November 2016, while hotel workers unions in New York and Washington DC lead the way years ago, implementing panic buttons in area hotels through collective bargaining agreements.

 

 

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

HMSHost and UNITE HERE Local 1 Reach Contract Agreement at O’Hare

HMSHost and UNITE HERE Local 1 Reach Contract Agreement at O’Hare

For Immediate Release

Media contacts:

 UNITE HERE Local 1:                        HMSHost:
Noah Carson-Nelson                        Eric Herman
ncarsonnelson@unitehere1.org        eherman@kivvit.com

CHICAGO, IL — UNITE HERE, Local 1 and HMSHost today announced the ratification of a collective bargaining agreement covering more than 1,300 associates who work in the domestic terminals as baristas, bartenders, and in other food and beverage services in Chicago O’Hare International Airport . The term of this agreement extends through June 30, 2021. The contract includes wage increases for all associates and options for continued access to HMSHost’s health-care plans or enrollment in UNITE HERE Health, expanding healthcare choices for workers.

HMSHost O’Hare workers will earn wages equal to or higher than those laid out by Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s executive order regarding City of Chicago concessions contractors, ensuring that employment in restaurants at O’Hare offer pathways to long-term careers.

“The advances made in this contract reflect a joint effort between HMSHost and the Union,” said Karen Kent, President of UNITE HERE Local 1. “Chicago City Council recently approved an $8.5 billion investment in O’Hare Airport. We are proud that that O’Hare will be a gold standard airport in our world-class city. We all look forward to a new era at O’Hare, as Chicago attracts more and more visitors and our members continue to be some of the first faces to welcome travelers in Chicago.”

“This new agreement reinforces HMSHost’s commitment and investment in our associates, and it clearly sets us apart as the employer of choice at O’Hare. HMSHost values its associates and their dedication to providing the best possible experience for the travelers at O’Hare day in and day out,” stated Laura E. FitzRandolph, HMSHost Executive Vice President & Chief Human Resources Officer. “We look forward to working with the union to ensure that together, we provide the best possible experience for travelers.”

“We salute both UNITE HERE Local 1 and HMSHost on this landmark agreement,” said Bob Reiter, President of the Chicago Federation of Labor. “This is a watershed moment for O’Hare. The historic investment in the infrastructure of O’Hare cements our status as a City second to none. And this new contract is an investment in the hardworking Chicagoans who are the heart of one our city’s greatest economic engines.”

About HMSHost
Global restaurateur HMSHost is a world leader in creating dining for travel venues. HMSHost operates in more than 120 airports around the globe and 99 travel plazas in North America. The Company has annual sales in excess of $3.1 billion and employs more than 39,500 sales associates worldwide. HMSHost is a part of Autogrill Group, the world’s leading provider of food & beverage services for people on the move. With sales of over €4.5 billion in 2016, the Group operates in 31 countries and employs over 57,000 people. It manages approximately 4,000 stores in about 1,000 locations worldwide. Visit www.HMSHost.com for more information. We can also be found on Facebook at fb.com/HMSHost and on Twitter at @HMSHost.

About UNITE HERE Local 1
UNITE HERE Local 1 represents about 3,700 food service workers at Chicago’s O’Hare and Midway International Airports, including more than 1,300 Starbucks baristas, restaurant servers, cooks, other food and beverage concessions workers who are employed by HMSHost at O’Hare. Learn more about Local 1 at www.UNITEHERE1.org, fb.com/UNITEHERELocal1, and on Twitter at @UNITEHERELocal1.

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Constitutionality of Chicago Airport Security Rules Called Into Question Following Overreach by Department of Aviation

UNITE HERE Local 1 Member Files Challenge to Citation by CDA & CPD

For Release January 19, 2018
Media Contact: Noah Carson-Nelson
ncarsonnelson@unitehere1.org

CHICAGO, IL – On Thursday, January 18, UNITE HERE Local 1 member Justice Castillo, by attorneys Tom Durkin and Robin Waters of Durkin & Roberts, filed a motion to challenge a citation issued by the Chicago Department of Aviation and the constitutionality of Chicago Municipal Code airport employee badging regulations.

Information on the challenge filing was brought to light today at an administrative hearing regarding a citation under the ordinance in question. Justice Castillo, a 22 year old Starbucks barista at HMSHost O’Hare Airport, was cited on December 21 for not properly supervising UNITE HERE Local 1 union organizers in a secure area of the airport as they cued workers for an upcoming strike; Justice is one of three HMSHost employees assigned to escort union organizers while they talk with union members inside O’Hare terminals. Police stopped Justice, took her security badge, and escorted Justice and the union organizers she was accompanying out of the airport. Justice’s security badge has been returned, but the citation could result in a fine.

A motion has been filed to challenge Justice’s citation and the constitutionality of the Chicago Municipal Code. As the citation was made at a key moment in an ongoing labor dispute, the motion contends that the issuance of the citation was a violation of Justice’s First Amendment rights; and that the citation also violated Justice’s rights under the National Labor Relations Act. The challenge to the Chicago Municipal Code asserts that §10-36-353(B) of the Code is overly vague in its description how employees who escort non-badged persons in the airport must “direct and control” those they are escorting at all times.

“This young woman was caught in the crossfire when she was cited for violation of an ordinance that we believe is fundamentally flawed. UNITE HERE will not be accepting any form of punishment for Justice.” Said Karen Kent, UNITE HERE Local 1 President. “We intend to challenge the constitutionality of this ordinance which we believe infringes upon Justice’s First Amendment rights to speech, assembly, and association.”

While HMSHost workers were on strike on December 21, CDA Commissioner Ginger Evans crossed the union picket line and tweeted a photo from inside O’Hare airport terminal restaurants and implied there was not a strike.

***** VISUAL: UNITE HERE Local 1 members waited outside Castillo’s January 18 CDA Administrative Hearing, wearing emerald green aprons which read “Justice at the Airport” and are screen printed with a picture of Justice Castillo.

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UNITE HERE Local 1 represents approximately 3,700 food service workers at Chicago’s O’Hare and Midway International Airports, including more than 1200 servers, bartenders, Starbucks baristas, and other restaurant workers employed by HMSHost. HMSHost does not currently have a contract with UNITE HERE Local 1.

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