For immediate release
September 14, 2006
312-663-4373 x 243
UNITE HERE reaches tentative agreement with Starwood Hotels in Chicago
Agreement wraps up bargaining for all major hotels
CHICAGO – UNITE HERE Local 1 announced a tentative agreement with Starwood in Chicago covering over 900 workers at five hotels. The agreement was reached Tuesday with Tishman Hotels, the owner of the Sheraton Chicago, and yesterday with Starwood Hotels, which owns and operates four other properties: Westin Michigan Avenue, the W City Center, the W Lakeshore Drive and the Tremont.
“We are very pleased to reach this settlement with Starwood. With the conclusion of bargaining, nearly 7,000 Chicago hotel workers will see major progress in wages, benefits and working conditions,” said Henry Tamarin, President of UNITE HERE Local 1. “In addition, we expect to see a ripple effect as non-union hotel workers in Chicago also receive raises.”
The tentative Chicago agreement with Starwood parallels one reached with Hilton on August 31 and Hyatt on September 3. Another 11 Chicago properties have signed “me-too” agreements with the union. A “me-too” agreement means the hotels will adopt the same terms negotiated for the Starwood-managed properties. “This settlement is good for Chicago. We were glad to be able to reach it without a disruption in the work as we head into the busy convention season. The Chicago hospitality industry will benefit from better-paid workers and safer working conditions achieved in this contract,” said Tamarin.
In addition to making improvements that protect worker health and safety in the contract negotiations, hotel housekeepers also scored a victory recently when a law mandating two paid 15-minute rest breaks was upheld in Cook County Circuit Court. The law was signed by Gov. Blagojevich in August 2005, and applies to all hotel housekeepers in Cook County.
“Chicago hotel workers are on the rise. But the rogue Congress Hotel, where workers have been on strike since June 2003, continues to give a black eye to Chicago. The Congress hotel continues to offer only $8.83 an hour, with no raises through 2010, while the citywide standard is now $13.20. We’ll continue to fight until justice is won for the heroic Congress strikers,” said Tamarin.
Contract negotiations have not yet concluded at four smaller properties, including the Hotel Raffaello, the Inn of Chicago, the Essex, and the Travelodge.