For immediate release
November 4, 2010
Hundreds gather to "part the red sea" of recession for workers as hotel business rebounds
Seventy political and religious leaders of many faiths joined hotel workers in Chicago today for an Interfaith Prayer Service in front of the Hyatt Regency Chicago, the site of numerous worker demonstrations in recent months. Together, they are seeking to "part the red sea" of the recession, and move toward a path of shared recovery for hotel workers as the economy rebounds.
This year, over 50 clergy and community leaders, including Rep. Bobby Rush (D-IL), have walked through the Hyatt Regency and other hotels citywide, showing their support for workers and seeing working conditions firsthand. In August, area Jewish leaders released a pledge in support of worker-led Hyatt boycotts and strikes—a statement that has been signed by more than 200 Jewish leaders nationwide. Religious leaders have also led delegations to top Hyatt executives at Hyatt Global Headquarters in December 2009 and at Hyatt’s first annual shareholders meeting in Chicago in June 2010.
Hyatt, Hilton and 6,500 other hotel workers in downtown Chicago have been in citywide contract negotiations since August of 2009. In August, area Hyatt workers called for a boycott of at three Hyatt properties in Chicago. In mid-October, Hilton workers carried out a 3-day strike.
UNITE HERE Local 1, Chicago’s hospitality workers union, represents over 15,000 hotel and food service workers in Chicago and casino workers in Northwest Indiana.