Posted July 23, 2010
Hundreds of hotel workers, members of UNITE-HERE Local 1, and their supporters confronted the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Chicago today, July 22. In front of this glitzy hotel, some dimwit in management had placed a sign thanking the Hyatt employees for helping them win the Chicago Workplace Excellence Award. Just a few weeks ago, these very same employees walked off the job to protest horrendous working conditions.
Outside in the streets, workers and their supporters were laying their bodies on the line for justice and getting arrested for blocking a major artery. The action was one of 15 across the country today coordinated by Hotel Workers Rising to demand a decent contract with this hotel chain. Today’s demonstrations follow on the heels of coordinated protests in June, when union members and their supporters from other unions, the religious and LGBT communities showed up to shame and denounce the Hyatt chain while its first-ever shareholders meeting was taking place. (Hyatt big-wig Doug Manchester is throwing around big bucks in California to stop gay marriage.)
The Hyatt chain is owned by the Pritzker family, a species native to Chicago and one of the wealthiest in the nation. This city is their favorite charity, except when it comes to the people who make that money for them with their labor. Since they rolled over $900 million by taking the Hyatt chain public last year, stock value has nearly doubled. The fight for a decent contract is and will continue to be a fierce national battle against corporate greed.
Chicago is home to the longest ever hotel strike in history – seven years at the Congress Hotel. UNITE HERE Local 1 represents over 15,000 hotel and food service workers in this city. It’s on! To find out what’s next on the calendar for supporters across the country, visit www.hotelworkersrising.org to join in solidarity.