In the first citywide hotel strike Chicago has experienced, 26 hotels are without housekeepers, doormen, cooks, bartenders, and attendants. The strike began on Friday, September 7 with 25 hotels, and the following Monday workers at Cambria Hotel walked out on their shifts to join the strike.
Why did workers go on strike?
After about a week of negotiations, a strike was called to secure health insurance for hotel staff that is laid off in winter when business is slower. Employees say they’ve had enough of management eliminating positions in the winter and piling more work on the staff that’s left.
“…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 in a statement. “They work us like dogs when it’s busy and then kick us to the curb in the winter.”
What is the solution?
Three parent companies manage the bulk of hotels involved—Hilton Hotels and Resorts, Hyatt Hotels, and Marriott International. Ideally, one of these companies would come to an agreement with the union creating an example for others to follow, according to the Tribune.
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