The latest chapter in the ongoing labor dispute between Hyatt Hotels
Corp. and workers unfolded Thursday as union members took to the picket
line to protest against claims the hotel chain planned to cut worker
health benefits by early next year unless their boycott came to an end.
Unite HERE’s week-long strike at six Hyatt Hotels in Chicago, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Honolulu comes to an end today. The union hopes to pressure the hotel chain into a fair contract following two years of working without one. AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka joined more than 200 picketers at the Hyatt Regency on Wacker Drive this morning to close out the strike.
“Think about this. You are the one’s that shine this hotel and make it shine. You’re the one’s that make the guests comfortable in there so they want to come back. You’re the one’s that make this hotel and Hyatt a success. Without you Hyatt is nothing. Nothing,” said Trumka to an energetic crowd.
Nearly 1,000 Hyatt employees around Chicago are still protesting today as part of a week-long strike that began on Thursday, drawing attention to a two year struggle of garnering a new contract that addresses working conditions. Workers in Los Angeles, San Francisco and Honolulu also formed picket lines outside their hotels.
Instead of focusing on the festive season and an employee holiday party,
hotel workers at the Palmer House are holding a one-day strike to
protest what they say are their employer's attempts to increase their
workload and eliminate jobs. Hilton Worldwide, which manages the Palmer
House, received $180 million in bailout money to help preserve jobs, but
hotel workers say the company is trying to use the recession as an
excuse for keeping wages low, increasing workloads, and cutting jobs, and
is pushing a program to do just that.
UNITE-HERE Local 1 represents the striking employees, which include
housekeepers, waitstaff, cooks, bell staff, dishwashers, and other hotel
workers. Some 6,500 hotel employees in the Chicagoland area have been
working without a contract since August 31, 2009. The stalemate, as we wrote earlier this year, "has forced members of Local 1 and their supporters to take mass arrests, hold wildcat strikes, union-authorized work stoppages, and regular picket lines outside of the hotels located on or near Michigan Avenue (and elsewhere in the city as well)."
We spoke to Latisha Wilson, a housekeeper, at today's Palmer House
strike. Wilson explained why she and her co-workers decided it was time
to take action:
City Clerk and mayoral candidate Miguel del Valle said, via a statement,
that he supports the Palmer House employees: "All workers in Chicago's
vibrant hospitality industry deserve a fair and just contract. In
solidarity with UNITE-HERE, I will not cross the Palmer House picket
line as long as this strike continues."
The Palmer House strike is scheduled to continue until 8:30 p.m. tonight. Similar actions are taking place today in San Francisco and Honolulu.