For immediate release
September 24, 2009
Hundreds to be arrested in civil disobedience action
Fighting layoffs and cuts, hospitality workers take a stand, saying big corporations like Chicago-based Hyatt have gone too far
WHAT: Civil disobedience action with hundreds of hospitality workers and community supporters, in what will be one of the largest actions of its kind in Chicago history.
WHO: Nearly 200 arrestees and over 500 witnesses from UNITE HERE Local 1, Chicago’s hospitality workers union, and the Chicago community.
WHERE: In front of the Park Hyatt, on Chicago near Michigan Ave.
WHEN:Thursday, September 24, 2009, 4:30 p.m.
WHY: In the last decade, big corporations like Hilton and Chicago-based Hyatt have taken home record profits, while many people who work for them are living in poverty. Now hospitality companies are using the economy as an excuse to further squeeze workers and communities–eliminating jobs, trying to roll back benefits, and getting a smaller pool of workers to risk injury by working harder and faster.
As companies like Hyatt lay off workers in Chicago, workers across the country are also being squeezed. One clear example: In Boston on August 31, Hyatt Hotels fired 100 long-term housekeepers and replaced them with low wage workers from a subcontractor.
In Chicago, workers are fighting back. Workers from the area’s airports, hotels, and casinos are banding together to say big corporations have gone too far.
Together, hospitality workers are fighting to rebuild our economy from the ground up, to transform poverty-wage jobs in the service sector—which can’t be shipped overseas—into solid, middle-class jobs with decent wages and affordable healthcare.
The action comes amid union contract negotiations, affecting more than 10,000 hotel, food service, and casino workers in the region and the national campaign to bring back the fired Hyatt 100 in Boston. Hotel workers in San Francisco have also coordinated a major civil disobedience in conjunction with the actions taken by workers in Chicago and Boston today.