For immediate release
June 3, 2005
312-663-4373 x247 or (cell) 312-802-2302
Visitors & Consumer Advocates Will Testify for New Law
Today the City Council Committee on Finance will hear testimony in support of the proposed “Right to Know” consumer protection ordinance. The ordinance would protect Chicago visitors by requiring hotels to notify customers of a prolonged strike or lockout of workers before making reservations. Hotel customers, community leaders and hotel workers will testify in support of the ordinance.
“Chicago is a world-class tourist destination, and visitors expect a safe and comfortable stay,” said Henry Tamarin, President of the UNITE HERE Local 1, Chicago’s 14,000-member hospitality workers’ union. “When customers unknowingly book at a hotel that is on strike, it leaves a black eye on our city.” President Tamarin also notes that hospitality is one of Chicago’s most important industries, which brought nearly 30 million visitors and $8.7 billion to the city in 2003.
The need for consumer protection is highlighted by the ongoing dispute at the Congress Plaza Hotel on Michigan Avenue, where workers have been on strike since June 2003. Many Congress customers report that they were not informed of the strike and would not have knowingly booked at a struck hotel. Hundreds of visitors have complained of unsafe and unsanitary conditions at the hotel, including undercooked food, dirty linens, broken elevators and torn carpets.
“We arrived in Chicago to find a picket line at the front door of the Congress Hotel, and every room in the city sold out,” said Amy Guymer of Lansing, Michigan, who visited Chicago in March and will testify at the hearing. “We had no place else to go but a struck hotel with a horrible conditions. We should have been told the truth.”