The conflict I will be looking into will be the striking of union workers roughly 25 hotels in downtown Chicago. The conflict started on September 7th, 2018 when Unite Here Local 1, a labor union representing hospitality workers in Chicago, called for a citywide strike, which was instigated by workers work-covered family healthcare expiring a week prior. Although the conflict and striking began on September 7th, the strike was voted for at 95% to 5% mid-August. Moreover, the Union wants workers that get laid off in the slower months to also get their family healthcare to be covered by the hotels, as well as an increase in wage.
“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,” Q. Rivers, a house attendant at the Palmer House Hilton, said in a union news release. As said by Q. Rivers, the employees need their family healthcare to be covered by work, because they themselves can’t afford it, with the pay they get from the hotels. The hotels can afford to cover the healthcare, as they made over 2 billion dollars in 2017, from the record breaking 55 million tourists, that visited Chicago. Fabiola, a housekeeper at one of the Chicago hotels says, “When I go home I don’t have energy left for my family.”. This shows that the amount of work that each worker must do is too great.
The strike is greatly affecting hotel services for example: Visitor Kristian Hulgard of Dallas said it took eight hours to check into Palmer House Hilton, which shows why hotels would want the strikes to end. Furthermore, Hyatt Hotels and Marriot International have expressed disappointment that the strike was started so early in bargaining and say that a deadlock hasn’t been any issue. In addition, the union is only negotiating with one hotel brand at a time, which makes the waiting brands upset.
The striking continues today, but some hotels have made contracts with the union, as a result the striking has stopped in such hotels. As of October 1st, 2018, there are still 10 hotels that haven’t reached an agreement with the union, although they want the chanting and noisemaking to stop. In spite of the fact that striking workers don’t get paid for missed shifts, Unite Here Local 1 is giving $300 weekly benefit to striking workers individually, so the workers can sustain the strike without being forced to return for pay. It is likely that the ten remaining hotels will reach an agreement with the union soon, to make the striking and noisemaking to stop. However, the workers think that it will take longer as, one worker told the Chicago Tribune, “It’s going to be a long fight.” late September 2018.
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