Illinois: In Illinois, housekeepers have been standing up for justice on the job. Hotel room attendants -" mostly women -" have been facing increasingly heavy workloads, leading to injury and exhaustion on the job. Room attendants are starting to fight back.
Locals 1, 450 and the Midwest Joint Board backed state legislation that would require hotels to give hotel room attendants two paid 15-minute breaks per day. Under the sponsorship of State Rep. John Fritchey, the bill passed through the State House of Representatives in April. It was referred to the State Senate, sponsored by Sen. Ira Silverstein.
Local 1 swung into action and planned a lobby day in Springfield in early May. On May 4th, 120 Local 1 members took a day off without pay, and rode buses 200 miles to the State Capitol in Springfield to lobby for the bill.
Hotel workers packed the Senate Labor Committee hearing that afternoon. Local 1 President Henry Tamarin testified in favor of the bill, and the committee voted in favor of it. After a preliminary unsuccessful vote, the Senate President Emil Jones and Asst. Majority Leader Jim DeLeo worked hard to line up the 30 votes to pass the bill on May 20.
Subject to the approval of the Governor, Cook County hotel room attendants will be the only workers in the State of Illinois with paid rest breaks. This law will be an exciting new opportunity for room attendants to stand up for a fair workload. Local 1 will continue to build a strong committee of housekeeper leaders to lead the fight.