For immediate release
October 26, 2009
WHAT: Rally, March & Picketing action to honor the historic strike at the Congress Hotel, now the longest hotel strike in American history. This action comes amid citywide hotel contract negotiations affecting 6,000 workers in downtown Chicago and just one day before a strike vote at 5 area hotels.
WHO: Hundreds of members of UNITE HERE Local 1, working in area hotels, and strikers from the Congress Hotel
WHERE: March begins in front of the Hilton Hotel (Michigan & 8th Street) and concludes in front of the Congress Hotel (Michigan & Congress Ave.)
WHEN: Monday, October 26, 2009, 4:00 p.m.
WHY: Union contracts covering 6,000 workers at 30 hotels in downtown Chicago expired on Aug. 31, 2009, and a settlement between area workers and hotel employers is far from sight. In a major escalation of this dispute, workers at 5 area hotels will take strike authorization votes on Oct. 27-28.
A hotel strike is nothing new to Chicago. Workers at the Congress Hotel have been on strike for more than 6 years, becoming the longest active strike in the country and the longest hotel strike in American history. Workers at the Congress Hotel have withstood 6 cold winters on strike to ensure that hotel jobs in Chicago remain strong, with decent pay and affordable healthcare.
Today, the standard that strikers at the Congress Hotel have fought so hard for is under attack, as big companies like the Hilton, Hyatt, and Starwood industry use the tough economy as an excuse to lay off workers, try to cut healthcare benefits and freeze wages, and get a smaller pool of workers to risk injury by working harder and faster.
Now Chicago hotel workers are fighting back. Hotel workers are now calling on employers to join with workers to ensure that jobs in Chicago’s hospitality industry, which can’t be exported overseas, remain safe, family-sustaining jobs with good healthcare benefits that can help rebuild our economy from the ground up.