Hilton workers OK strikes at four Chicago hotels

It’s going to get a little crazy in Chicago, at least as far as the Hilton is concerned. According to Chicago Breaking News service, Hilton Hotels workers in Chicago voted Thursday night in favor of a strike at the Chicago Hilton, Hilton O’Hare, the Palmer House Hilton and the Drake, a downtown Chicago hotel legend.

The unions – Unite Here Local 1 and Local 450 – told the Chicago news service that 96 percent of its members voted in favor of a strike. If this strike takes place, this would make the third group of hotel workers in nine months to rally against ‘unfair’ contract negotiations between Chicago hotels and the union.

Union contracts covering 6,500 workers at 31 hotels in downtown Chicago expired Aug. 31.

Arrests made in Hyatt protests

It’s been a long few days for the Hyatt. An ongoing labor dispute between the hotel’s hospitality workers union and the Hyatt Corporation resulted in demonstrations outside the Grand Hyatt San Francisco hotel last week, which turned ugly fast.

San Francisco police department arrested 150 demonstrators after they blocked Stockton Street outside the San Francisco hotel. All arrested were cited and released, but the battle wages on.

San Francisco hospitality workers have been without a contract for nearly a year as union and hotel management continue to negotiate health care benefits, pension improvement, wage increases, and the right to organize without intimidation from employers.

From the hospitality workers union Unite-Here Local 2:

“The Hyatt Corporation has repeatedly said they want workers to pay hundreds of dollars per month for family medical,” Local 2 spokeswoman Riddhi Mehta told the Guardian. “Workers have sacrificed wages for decades to keep health care, to the point that their average income is $30,000 to $35,000 per year.”

From the Hyatt:.

“They are sitting on top of $35 million that could be used to help address the overall health care plan that hasn’t been addressed in 30 years,” Hyatt spokesman Peter Hillman told the Guardian. “If there is finger pointing on profits and all that, I would ask them why they haven’t opened up that?”

Hillman said management wants to renegotiate the health care portion of the contract, but that negotiations hadn’t reached the point to make specific demands for worker contributions to the plan. Mehta told the Guardian that $35 million is in a health and welfare trust fund specifically for emergencies, like earthquakes or lockouts in which union members aren’t working enough hours to get health benefits.

Seems neither party won the recent battle, but here’s hoping it gets resolved soon.

[via The San Francisco Bay Guardian]

Arrests, citations issued during protest at Hilton San Francisco

When the owners of the Hilton chain started renegotiating worker contracts, hotel workers took to the streets.

More than 100 hotel workers were cited last night during a demonstration outside the Hilton San Francisco, according to the San Franicsco’s BeyondChron, a local news website.

Owned by the Blackstone Group, the Hilton put forth proposals to cut starting wages by 25 percent for new hires. The matter of health care is on the table, too, and both sides are apparently at odds over proper coverage. A rally to protest the cuts and argue the current contracts took place last night, causing a minor raucous in the city of San Fran. More than 1,000 protestors blocked the main hotel entrance for several hours before 140 people were arrested for misdemeanor trespassing.

A union official said the workers included room cleaners, cooks, food servers, bellmen, bartenders and dishwashers, and they have been working without a contract since August. The San Francisco Hilton is the city’s largest hotel with 1900 rooms.

[via BeyondChron.com]