Chicago's tourism sector is booming, with a record 55,000,000 visitors to the city last year, and revenue up this year by 10.4% to $1.45B: but workers aren't seeing those gains.
Housekeepers continue to suffer a 40% higher injury rate than any other service sector workers, and hotel staff face seasonal layoffs in which they lose their health coverage for the winter — as one worker said, "Hotels may slow down in the wintertime, but I still need my diabetes medication when I'm laid off. They work us like dogs when it's busy and then kick us to the curb in the winter."
UNITE HERE Local 1 has led a walkout of over 6,000 housekeepers, cooks, doormen, bartenders, servers and dishwashers from 26 hotels, with round-the-clock picket lines in a vote that was authorized by 97% of the membership. They've been out for a week.
"We're tired of being stepped on, when these billion-dollar corporations are getting all this money and then they forget us," says Larry Lewis, a houseman who has been working at the Palmer House for 18 years. "They forget that we've made these places five-star, world-wide-class hotels."
The last time workers at this many city hotels were out on strike in unison was all the way back in 1903.
Thousands of Chicago Workers Are Out On the First Citywide Hotel Strike In Over a Century [Jeff Schuhrke/Portside]
— UNITE HERE Local 1 (@UniteHerelocal1) September 8, 2018
(via Naked Capitalism)