Hilton workers OK strike at 4 Chicago hotels

By Tribune staff report
Posted Aug. 20, 2010 at 5:49 a.m.

Hilton Hotels workers in Chicago voted Thursday night to authorize a strike at the Chicago Hilton, Hilton O’Hare, the Palmer House Hilton and the Drake, according to Unite Here Local 1 and Local 450.

The union said 96 percent of its members voted in favor of a strike, which authorizes the bargaining committee to call a strike, if necessary. They are the third group of hotel workers in nine months to hold such a vote in the wake of unsettled contract negotiations between Chicago hotels and the union.

In October, Chicago hotel workers voted to authorize a strike at five downtown Starwood hotels affecting 1,500 workers, followed by a vote last month covering 1,600 Hyatt hotel workers, who also agreed to authorize a strike. So far, none have called for a strike.

Union contracts covering 6,500 workers at 31 hotels in downtown Chicago expired Aug. 31, and the two sides have been unable to reach a settlement, according to Unite Here Local 1. Another 2,000 hotel workers near Chicago’s airports affiliated with UNITE HERE Local 450 that have been in contract negotiations since August of 2009.


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  1. Blu Aug. 20, 2010 at 8:36 a.m.

    Hope the unions have enough in their coffers to pay the striking fools after they get laid off and replaced with non-union.

    Let’s give the tourists and conventions even more reasons why they should avoid Chicago and take their business elsewhere.

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  3. random Aug. 20, 2010 at 9:20 a.m.

    Are these people even here legally? I’ll bet that at least 25% of those calling for a strike are not legal residents. The Feds should look into this.

  4. ethan Aug. 20, 2010 at 11:00 a.m.

    Tribune, please provide more intel. What are the unions threatening a strike FOR? A contract? What is currently on the negotiating table? Who’s providing what and who is not?
    At this point, all we know is that the “union” has taken a vote which has given them the OPTION of striking. Ok, so what. If you want to keep us coming back, you need to provide a more complete picture of what the issues are. This “article” could be summed up in a headline “Union officials receieve enough votes to call for a strike if necessary.” End of line.

  5. mariog Aug. 20, 2010 at 11:38 a.m.

    Sign painting meeting tonite at my house. Go around back to the garage.

    We’ll bring ‘em to their knees.

    Oh, what, we don’t get paid while we’re on strike?? Isn’t Unite Here local 1 going to pay us out of their strike fund?? Hold on just a minute now. Oh oh.

  6. BDD Aug. 20, 2010 at 11:40 a.m.

    They are union, the messiah will save them once he returns from his family’s lates vacation to Cape Cod.

  7. Paul Aug. 20, 2010 at 12:50 pm

    Fire the lazy lot and bring in non-union workers. Unions are killing our country along with the politicans.

  8. Nick Aug. 20, 2010 at 1:23 pm

    The Tribune sucks for not explaining why they’re on strike. What’s the point of contention specifically?

    And ditch the union workers and bring in non-union ones. Let’s face it – I don’t have sympathy for non-skilled labor wanting more money when skilled labor is getting laid off.

  9. ralph Aug. 20, 2010 at 1:47 pm

    Yeah strike-show those capitalistic pigs. See how well the strike has worked at the Congress Hotel.
    The one downs side of the strike is that the banquet mangers will not be able to use their power for sexual exchange. They will have to hire hookers retail.
    Gee I wonder if you can buy coffee for $60 a gallon anywhere else in the country.

  10. More Aug. 20, 2010 at 3:43 pm

    HILTON, Starwood, Hyatt.. Declare you Hotels NON-UNION!! Tell the UNIONS to “STICK IT!!”.. Fire all the UNION workers.. Then re-hire them as NON_UNION.. If they do not want to come back.. There are hundreds of thousands of people that are un-employed that would love to have a job.. The CONGRESS HOTEL did it.. They have been NON-UNION now for 7+ years.. So what does the UNION do!! They have illegal aliens out there every day for the last 7+ years, that never worked at the Congress Hotel with picket signs.. Where is ICE!!!!

  11. Kevin Fitzgerald Aug. 20, 2010 at 5:19 pm

    I am a committe member who negotiates with the Union on behalf of all of the workers at the Chicago Hilton. Hilton wants to introduce a plan to bring in new workers at 75% of what is at the present. That mean a cook that might make maybe 10.00$ an hour would be paying for more for insurance than in previous contracts. Furthermore they want the right to be able to subcontract. They want us to take a contract for 5 years contract for a total of 42 cents a year. That number is to be divided among health and welfare, pension and hourly wage increase. They want the ability to eliminate employer contributions to the pension fund during the first year of employment. Could you live on this with a family. I hate the unions to they suck but i work with them to get a good contract one that I can live on. The congress workers have not been non-union for seven years. The owner went against the last wage increase and we have been on strike there since.

  12. Juvi Aug. 20, 2010 at 8:37 pm

    I don’t care why the unions/workers are striking. so many SKILLED workers were laid off and would love to have a high paying job where all they have to do is make beds or clean toilets. get with the times!!! destroy the hotels and Tourist industry in Chicago. they’ll just go Vegas, more fun!

  13. Kari Aug. 24, 2010 at 2:24 a.m.

    As a union worker, I would like to say I am not unskilled, nor am I lazy. During times of economic troubles I understand hotels may have a decline in business levels, resulting in less profits; however, hotel employees have every right to fair wage increases, health and welfare benefits, and safe working ennvironments.

    What are these posters’ definitions of “skilled workers”? For instance, hotel housekeepers have very strenuous workloads. These workers, in an eight-hour workday are required to clean on average 15-16 rooms. Their duties include much more than ‘cleaning toilets’. They must adhere to strict hotel guidelines. Quite frankly, it’s ball-busting work. I encourage every one of these negative posters to work ONE shift as a housekeeper… and guess what? These jobs aren’t that high-paying after all…

    As far as strike votes, workers’ voices must be heard, by every means necessary. If we as workers back down, we will fail. The same things I have read above by people uneducated on this issue remind me of the people who opposed the Civil Rights Movement, who felt black people were inferior; similar to the idea that the ‘unskilled worker’ is inferior and wrong for wanting better lives for themselves and for their families.

    The union is not perfect, but I have witnessed unfair/unethical practices by hotel management against hotel workers and I also have witnessed the union protecting workers against this mistreatment. In short, I will continue to support the union and I encourage people to educate themselves on this subject before they post unfair and rude comments. Thanks.

  14. Bryan Hopson Aug. 27, 2010 at 7:21 a.m.

    First off I would like to say I hate racist idiots! What does illegal aliens have to do with providing a legitimate income for your family? I for one can say,that the people the union are going up against are unfair and money hungry! As a local 450 member,workers have not had raises in a year! So those big head honchos,have made millions of dollars,not only with the thousands of cuts that they have made from within the last past year,but from the lack of proving raises to there employees. Along, with the fact of not wanting to give us a raise,they want us to a pay a percentage on our medicare. Now for those of you who say,”go get so of the hundred thousands of workers that are laid off to work in those hotels”,some of those thousands of people already worked for the hotels dumb ***!!! So you want to bring those workers back with no benefits and no medicare! How about “No scott”…..is 70 cents a year too much to ask for?