Thousands of Parents, Students, Teachers, School Workers and Community Supporters to Rally and March for Strong Schools and Strong Neighborhoods

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: March 20, 2013

CONTACTS:                     

UNITE HERE: Carly Karmel, 312-933-4045, ckarmel@unitehere1.org

SEIU LOCAL 1: Izabela Miltko, 708-655-9681, miltkoi@seiu1.org

GEM: Aileen Kelleher, 312-351-0395, akelleher@actionnow.org

CTU: Stephanie Gadlin, 312-329-6250, StephanieGadlin@ctulocal1.com

 

Thousands of Parents, Students, Teachers, School Workers and Community Supporters to Rally and March for Strong Schools and Strong Neighborhoods

 CHICAGO—A massive rally and downtown march sponsored by UNITE HERE Local 1, SEIU Local 1, the Grassroots Education Movement and the Chicago Teachers Union is set for 4 p.m. on Wednesday, March 27, in Daley Plaza, 50 W. Washington St. The protesters will call on the City of Chicago and its Board of Education to stop school closings and slow the expansion of the charter system in order to focus investment in our public school children, working families and our city’s struggling neighborhoods.

The rally will unite people across the city who oppose the City’s plan to close schools, expand charters and eliminate good, middle class jobs. The current proposals not only put students at risk for bad educational outcomes and increased exposure to violence, but devastate thousands of workers and their families.

“The 27th will be the culmination of parents, students, school employees, and community members’ frustrations and anger as we band together to save our schools,” said UNITE HERE Local 1 President Henry Tamarin. “Chicago’s kids deserve strong schools in safe neighborhoods.”

“CPS comes up with a new excuse every year about why they need to close more of our neighborhood schools and open new charters,” says Michelle Young, President of Action Now and member of GEM. “With the amount of violence in our communities taking the lives of our children, school closings are not only irresponsible, they are morally wrong.”

UNITE HERE, SEIU Local 1 and Chicago Teachers Union represent school workers; the unions’ 125,000 households make up roughly 15 percent of the city’s population. These union members are not just workers in the public schools, they are parents and grandparents to 92,000 school aged children who overwhelming attend Chicago Public Schools.

“Mayor Emanuel says he is the mayor of the children—but to do that, he has to be the mayor of their parents too,” says Tom Balanoff, President of SEIU Local 1, which represents more than 2,000 CPS custodians and lunchroom managers. “Privatizing and closing schools eliminates good middle class jobs and forces parents and their children into poverty.”

“Since December, CPS and its appointed utilization commission has made a show of being open to public input on their plans to close 13 percent of the schools in our district,” said CTU President Karen Lewis, NBCT. “March 27 will bring all the emotion and anger from those network meetings together in one place and show the entities in power what real power is.”

What:                   Mass Rally and Downtown March for Strong Schools, Strong Neighborhoods

Where:                Rally at Daley Plaza (march route forthcoming)

When:                  Wednesday, March 27 at 4 p.m.

Who:                     UNITE HERE Local 1, SEIU Local 1, the Grassroots Education Movement and the Chicago Teachers Union are joined by a broad-based coalition of community organizations, including: Action Now, Albany Park Neighborhood Council, Arab American Action Network, Blocks Together, Brighton Park Neighborhood Council, Bridgeport Alliance, Bickerdike Redevelopment Corp., Coalition of Black Trade Unionists, Chicago Teachers Solidarity Campaign, Grassroots Collaborative, Jobs With Justice, Kenwood Oakland Community Organization, Lawndale Alliance, Logan Square Neighborhood Association, Northside Action for Justice, Northside POWER, ONE PACE, Parents 4 Teachers, Chicago PEACE, People for Community Recovery, Pilsen Alliance, Rogers Park Neighbors for Public Schools, SEIU Local 73, Southside Together Organizing for Power, Southsiders Organized for Unity & Liberation, Stand Up Chicago, Teachers for Social Justice and VOYCE.

Visuals:              Thousands of protestors flooding the streets of downtown with posters, banners and props.

 

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Report: O’Hare has $3 billion opportunity to be culinary destination

Airport workers recommend sustainable and local food for the future

(Chicago) – The menu at O’Hare International Airport is about to change but what’s on it is yet to be decided. The City of Chicago will soon set guidelines for companies interested in providing food concessions at the airport and ask those compa­nies to submit proposals for how they’d do it. Today, food workers at O’Hare released a report, Putting Sustainability on the Table: Airport Workers’ Vision for $3 Billion of Food and Drink at O’Hare, which suggests recommendations to the City on how to ensure the menu is as tasty as possible.

 

Cooking, serving, and greeting travelers, O’Hare’s food workers are on the frontlines of the passenger experience. In advance of the City’s guidelines, workers at O’Hare, who are members of UNITE HERE Local 1, surveyed their co-workers and passengers in order to determine the best direction for the airport. What they found is a shared passion and vision for food at the airport:

 

  • 57% of workers surveyed said that customers have asked if their food was cooked from scratch, or from pre-made or frozen ingredients. Of those, 58% said they were asked that question on a daily or weekly basis.
  • 47% of worker respondents said that a customer has asked where the food in his/her restaurant was produced. Meanwhile, 86% of workers surveyed said they think that restaurants at O’Hare should buy food ingredients that are grown locally.
  • 89% of worker respondents said they think there should be more food service training opportunities available as part of the redevelopment of O’Hare. Workers at LAX in Los Angeles are currently participating in a training program to learn new culinary skills as part of the concession redevelopment at LAX.

 

The redevelopment of concessions at O’Hare provides the City with an exciting culinary opportunity. To ensure its success, airport workers recommend that the City prioritize cooking fresh, healthy food using locally grown produce, minimizing food waste, and investing in airport workers to provide job stability and training throughout the transition.

 

“The main thing is that people are changing the way they eat based on health concerns,” said Jesus Valle, a server with 32 years of experience at the airport.

 

Encouraged by steps that the City and HMS Host have recently taken towards improving sustainability at the airport, workers are enthusiastic about the future of food at O’Hare.

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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.

Are Indiana taxpayers about to bail out Sin City?

Analysis finds majority of Indiana casinos owned by companies based in Las Vegas, three-quarters are owned by out-of-state companies

[Indianapolis] –The Indiana Senate is currently considering Senate Bill 528, which would provide a multi-million dollar bailout to Indiana casinos in the form of a variety of tax breaks. A new analysis of the ownership of Indiana casinos finds that three-quarters of Indiana casinos (10 of 13) are owned by out-of-state companies with few incentives to re-invest the bailout money in facilities and jobs in Indiana. More than half (7 of 13) of Indiana’s casinos are owned by companies based in Las Vegas.

Casinos were approved in Indiana to generate revenue for state and local government and to provide stable jobs for Indiana residents. Yet, in addition to the cost borne by the state, the bailout would cost counties and communities throughout Indiana around $40 million per year based on amendments approved late last week.

“We are trying to stress that we don’t want people to forget the workers,” Majestic Casino employee Jeri Elliot told the Post-Tribune earlier this month. “Just keep the money here in the state, and when you reinvest, reinvest in the jobs.”

Data shows that Indiana casinos have reduced jobs in recent years. According to figures released by the Indiana Department of Workforce Development, during December 2012, Indiana’s “Gambling Industries” directly employed only 12,700 people – down 1,200 jobs from five years ago (Dec. 2007) and down 3,300 jobs from 10 years ago (Dec 2002), even as several new facilities have opened up.

 

As it is currently written, the casino bill would be a “blank check” to casino owners that could easily just shift the money to billionaire out-of-state investors with no benefit to Indiana. Instead, Indiana casino employees believe any casino “bailout” bill should ensure money is invested in casino jobs in Indiana – where the investment will reduce unemployment and help drive the Indiana economy.

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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.

Casino workers to General Assembly: Casino “bailout” should be invested in stable jobs for Indiana

Delegation of casino workers heads to Indianapolis to speak to lawmakers

[INDIANAPOLIS] – A delegation of several casino employees from Northern Indiana is heading to Indianapolis on Tuesday, February 5, to ask state lawmakers to ensure casinos keep their promise of stable jobs for Indiana communities. The Indiana General Assembly is currently considering a “bailout” (Senate Bill 528) for Indiana casinos that could see as much as $235 million in state tax revenue handed back to casino operators. Casinos were approved in Indiana based to generate revenue for state and local governments and to provide stable jobs for Indiana residents.

Data shows that Indiana casinos have reduced jobs in recent years. According to figures released by the Indiana Department of Workforce Development, during December 2012, Indiana’s “Gaming Industries” directly employed only 12,700 people – down 1,200 jobs from five years ago and down 3,300 jobs from 10 years ago, even as several new facilities have opened up.

The Majestic Star Casino in Gary, Indiana shows how Indiana casinos have broken their jobs promise. In November 2012, the Majestic Star laid-off 80 employees with no advance notice to the workers. Laid-off employees, some of whom were eventually returned to work, had worked at Majestic Star for as long as sixteen years.

The Majestic Star Casino is controlled by Wayzata Investment Partners, a Minnesota-based investment firm with around $7.5 billion in assets.

“These out-of-state owners who control billions are coming to Indiana and taking away our jobs,” Alisha Coleman, a laid-off Majestic Star worker, told the Post-Tribune in November.

The casino bill would be a “blank check” to casino owners, many of them out-of-state investment funds like Wayzata, which could easily just shift the money to billionaire out-of-state investors with no benefit to Indiana. Instead, Indiana casino employees believe any casino “bailout” bill should ensure money is invested in casino jobs in Indiana – where the investment will reduce unemployment and help drive the Indiana economy.

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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.

After striking, CSU cafeteria workers more hopeful for jobs and contract settlement

CHICAGO) – After a strike by Chicago State University cafeteria workers, a new statement by the University leave workers feeling hopeful about their prospects for work and a contract settlement in the New Year.

Last week, workers worried they might lose their jobs in the New Year after campus food service provider Thompson Hospitality told workers that it might stop providing food service on campus due to a financial dispute with CSU. In a major step forward for workers, CSU has now issued a letter to Thompson Hospitality which indicates that the University and food service provider are working to resolve outstanding financial obligations. The letter also urged the company to bargain in good faith with workers.

On December 3, the cafeteria workers’ union filed unfair labor practice charges against Thompson Hospitality for repeatedly cancelling negotiations and failing to bargain in good faith. On December 6, cafeteria workers went on strike in response to Thompson Hospitality’s cancellation of negotiations. It was the first strike of university cafeteria workers in Chicago history.

 

“I see this letter as a victory for me and my colleagues,” said Candice Cain, who has worked in the cafeteria for two years. “While this is a positive step forward, I hope Thompson Hospitality does the right thing and continues negotiations with us.”

Earlier this year, dining hall workers unionized in an effort to bring stability and end poverty wages paid to food service employees at the University. While the union has been in contract negotiations with Thompson Hospitality since June, Thompson has cancelled scheduled meetings twice, and its last meeting with the union was on October 16.

Chicago State University cafeteria workers on strike

Strike is the first of university cafeteria workers in Chicago history

 

(CHICAGO) – Today, Chicago State University cafeteria workers went on strike in response to food service contractor Thompson Hospitality’s cancellation of negotiations. On Monday, December 3, cafeteria workers, represented by UNITE HERE Local 1, filed unfair labor practice charges against Thompson Hospitality for repeatedly cancelling negotiations and failing to bargain in good faith. It is the first strike of university cafeteria workers in Chicago history.

 

Earlier this year, dining hall workers unionized in an effort to bring stability and end poverty wages paid to food service employees at the University. While the union has been in contract negotiations with Thompson Hospitality since June, Thompson has cancelled scheduled meetings twice, and its last meeting with the union was on October 16.

“I take pride in my work and want to serve good, quality food to students. It breaks my heart that the company has forced us into this position,” said Candace Cain, who has worked in the cafeteria for two years. 

Meanwhile, on Tuesday, December 4, a top official of Thompson Hospitality announced to University dining hall workers that it might stop providing food service in the New Year at the University due to a financial dispute with CSU. The jobs of approximately 50 dining hall workers and the future of Thompson Hospitality at CSU now hang in the balance.

 

“I was hoping for a contract in 2012, but now I don’t know if I’ll even have a job in 2013,” said Cain. “For us and the students, the University must resolve this problem to ensure that we have good jobs where we continue cooking and serving food to the students.”

 

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UNITE HERE Local 1 represents approximately 15,000 hospitality workers and casino workers in the Chicago area and Northwest Indiana.

Chicago State University cafeteria workers to strike

Chicago State University cafeteria workers to strike

Unfair labor practice charges filed against company for not bargaining

Food service provider says it might terminate contract with CSU due to financial dispute

 

WHAT: A daylong strike by CSU cafeteria workers employed by Thompson Hospitality, protesting the company’s cancellation of negotiations. It is the first strike of university cafeteria workers in Chicago history.

WHO: Chicago State University cafeteria workers employed by Thompson Hospitality, joined by supporters such as members of UNITE HERE Local 1, students, professors, and community allies.

WHERE: Chicago State University, Student Union Building; 9501 S. King Drive        

WHEN: Thursday, December 6th – Picketing begins at 6:00am. Picketing ends at 8:00pm.

WHY: Chicago State University cafeteria workers are prepared to strike this Thursday, launching the first strike by university cafeteria workers in Chicago history. Earlier this week, cafeteria workers represented by UNITE HERE Local 1 filed unfair labor practice charges against Thompson Hospitality for repeatedly cancelling negotiations.

Meanwhile, on Dec. 4th, a top official of Thompson Hospitality announced to University dining hall workers that it might stop providing food service in the New Year at CSU due to a financial dispute with CSU. The jobs of approximately 50 dining hall workers and the future of Thompson Hospitality at CSU now hang in the balance.

Earlier this year, dining hall workers unionized in an effort to bring stability and end poverty wages paid to food service employees at the University.

Tonight, at 5:00 PM at the Student Union Building cafeteria Chicago State University students, professors, and community will be meeting with University cafeteria workers for an emergency forum to discuss the crisis in the dining halls. Call Carly Karmel, 312-933-4045 for details.

 

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UNITE HERE Local 1 represents approximately 15,000 hospitality workers and casino workers in the Chicago area and Northwest Indiana. Workers available for interview.

Chicago State University cafeteria workers might be jobless in New Year

Chicago State University cafeteria workers might be jobless in New Year

Workers picket to demand that food service provider negotiate

Current food service provider might terminate contract with CSU due to University financial dispute

(CHICAGO) –Today, a top official of Thompson Hospitality, a food service contractor, announced to Chicago State University dining hall workers that it might stop providing food service this month at the University due to a financial dispute with CSU. The jobs of approximately 50 dining hall workers and the future of food service provider Thompson Hospitality at CSU now hang in the balance.

The contract between Thompson and the University is not set to expire until June 2014. The official from Thompson Hospitality told workers that the company has submitted to the University a 30-day notice to terminate the contract due to unfulfilled financial obligations.

“I need my job to survive, to feed my daughter. It’s the holidays,” said Candace Cain, who has worked in the cafeteria for two years. “The University must resolve this problem.”

Meanwhile, dining hall workers began picketing Thompson Hospitality today. While the union has been in contract negotiations with Thompson Hospitality since June, Thompson has cancelled scheduled meetings twice, and its last meeting with workers was on October 16. Workers spoke at today’s Illinois Board of Higher Education meeting and are planning to take further actions in the coming days.

The food service at CSU cafeterias is paid for by students. All students living in a traditional residence hall on campus are required to purchase a meal plan.

Earlier this year, dining hall workers unionized, joining UNITE HERE Local 1 in April, in an effort to bring stability and end poverty wages paid to food service employees at the University. While the union has been in contract negotiations with Thompson Hospitality since June, Thompson has cancelled scheduled meetings twice, and its last meeting with workers was on October 16. Local 1 has filed unfair labor practice charges in response to the company failure to negotiate.

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UNITE HERE Local 1 represents approximately 15,000 hospitality workers and casino workers in the Chicago area and Northwest Indiana.

Chicago State University workers file unfair labor practice charges and picket to press company to bargain

(CHICAGO) –On Monday, Chicago State University cafeteria workers represented by UNITE HERE Local 1 filed unfair labor practice charges against Thompson Hospitality for repeatedly cancelling negotiations and failing to bargain in good faith. The charges come after months of bargaining.

Earlier this year, dining hall workers unionized in an effort to bring stability and end poverty wages paid to food service employees at the University. While the union has been in contract negotiations with Thompson Hospitality since June, Thompson has cancelled scheduled meetings twice, and its last meeting with workers was on October 16.

“It breaks my heart that the company has forced us into this position. We care about our families, we care about the students we serve,” said Candace Cain, who has worked in the cafeteria for two years.

In response, University cafeteria workers intend to picket on campus and may walk off the job later this week.

 

 

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UNITE HERE Local 1 represents approximately 15,000 hospitality workers and casino workers in the Chicago area and Northwest Indiana.

Laid-off Majestic Star workers to Indiana Gaming Commission: Stop out-of-town billionaire investors from taking away jobs!

(CHICAGO) – On Thursday, November 15, recently laid-off casino workers from the Majestic Star Casino in Gary will call on the Indiana Gaming Commission to stop out-of-town billionaire investment firms from taking over casinos and stripping out Indiana jobs.

Wayzata Investment Partners, a Minnesota-based investment firm with around $7.5 billion in assets, took control of the Majestic Star Casino in November 2011. Wayzata executives, at the time, refused to disclose their plans for the casino.

The Majestic Star laid-off 80 employees without advance notice to workers earlier this month. Laid-off employees worked in departments throughout the casino, and some had worked at Majestic Star for as long as sixteen years.

“These out-of-state owners who control billions are coming to Indiana and taking away our jobs,” Alisha Coleman, a laid-off Majestic Star worker, told the Post-Tribune last week.

Casinos like the Majestic Star were approved by political leaders based on the promise that they would bring stable jobs to hard-hit areas like Northwest Indiana. The layoffs, just before the holidays, come at a particularly difficult time for casino workers and their families.

While the casino told employees the layoffs were meant to improve efficiencies due to a change in guest volumes, admissions at Majestic Star over the past 12 months are actually up slightly from the year before.  Additionally, the Majestic Star Casino took in more than $200 million in gross receipts over the past year, making it the seventh highest grossing casino in Indiana.

Indiana is not the only state where Wayzata Investment Partners is cutting jobs – in early October, the firm laid-off 84 employees at their Fitzgerald’s Casino in Tunica, MS.

Collective bargaining agreements covering around 1,000 Northwest Indiana casino workers expired on October 31, 2012, around the time the firings began.

The Indiana Public Retirement System (PRS), the pension plan for Indiana public employees and teachers, is a partner in the Wayzata Investment Partners fund that owns the Majestic Star Casino.

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UNITE HERE Local 1 represents approximately 15,000 hospitality workers and casino workers in the Chicago area and Northwest Indiana.