Striking hotel workers at the Congress Plaza Hotel in Chicago organized for picketing action and protest with UNITE HERE Local 1 after learning that ‘America’s Next Top Model’ was holding auditions at the hotel. In early September, the popular reality television show announced that it would stage a local casting call at the Congress, but they moved auditions to a new venue two days prior to the big event and following outcry by strike supporters.
Congress strikers, UNITE HERE Local 1 and the Chicago and Los Angeles chapters of AFTRA coordinated extensive outreach to producers of the popular television show, executives of the CW television network, and Cover Girl make-up, a key sponsor of ‘America’s Next Top Model.’ Following a swarm of concerned phone calls and e-mails, producers of the show sent an e-mail to leaders of AFTRA LA, announcing that the event had been moved "due to the long-standing labor dispute with the Congress Plaza Hotel and its union workers." The show’s website posted a new location, the Hyatt Regency at McCormick Place, hours later.
Strikers from the Congress Plaza Hotel have been on strike for five years since June 15, 2003, after the hotel decided to freeze wages and slash benefits. Now the longest active strike in the country, striking workers braved five cold Chicago winters to ensure that hotel jobs in this city are strong, family-sustaining jobs.