Chicago Hotel Workers Strike In Pursuit Of Better Benefits

Rob Hart
September 07, 2018 - 9:00 am

WBBM Newsradio/Rob Hart

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CHICAGO (WBBM NEWSRADIO/AP) — Workers are picketing Friday outside several downtown Chicago hotels as housekeepers, servers, cooks and others participate in a strike as part of an effort to get better benefits.

The Friday walkout is planned for 25 hotels and comes after members of the hotel workers' union, Unite Here Local 1, voted to authorize a strike amid contract negotiations. Their current contract expired Aug. 31.

The union said better health care coverage is among the demands. Workers said they deserve higher wages, more manageable workloads and sick days to see doctors.

The strike includes workers at the Hyatt Regency Chicago. A statement on behalf of the hotel said Hyatt "has a long history of strong relations" with unions and will continue negotiating in good faith. The hotel said it has plans in place to continue operations.

Carolina Sanchez is a banquet server at the Hyatt.

"I think it is awesome that they are all here with us trying to let the Hyatt know we have rights, we need respect, and we need health insurance," she said.

The striking employees want year-round work and health care coverage.  They said they are laid off during slow periods.  Hyatt said it has reached agreements with union workers in other cities.  Contract talks continue next week.