UNITE HERE Local 1, which represents Chicago’s hospitality workers union, announced via Twitter that it ratified a contract with Marriott International on Thursday, September 20.
The union said it reached an agreement with seven Chicago hotels: Sheraton, W City Center, W Lakeshore, Westin Michigan Avenue, Westin River North, JW Marriot and Hotel Blake.
UNITE HERE Local 1 later announced it reached an agreement with two Kimpton-owned hotels on Saturday, September 22, Hotel Allegro and Hotel Palomar, ending strikes at both.
On Wednesday, September 26, the union said it reached agreements with Knickerbocker Hotel and the Ritz-Carlton.
On Saturday, September 29, Chicago Hilton union workers ratified contracts at the Palmer House Hilton, the Drake Hotel, the Hilton Chicago and DoubleTree Chicago Magnificent Mile.
UNITE HERE Union Workers Continue to Settle Contracts
On Sunday, September 30, union workers at the Inn of Chicago settled on a new contract. And on Tuesday, October 2, union workers ratified a contract at Ambassador Hotel, according to UNITE HERE Local 1.
Workers settled contracts with the Wyndham Grand Hotel on October 3 and the Warwick Allerton on October 4.
On Monday, October 1, striking hotel workers rallied at the Hyatt Regency Chicago for a press conference that called on Hyatt to settle its contracts there and at the Hyatt Regency McCormick Place.
Striking Hotel Worker Demetrius Jackson Speaks at Hyatt Regency Chicago Rally, Credit: UNITE HERE Local 1
“Hilton, Marriott, and six other hotels have reached new agreements and brought the strikes to an end," said UNITE HERE Local 1 President Karen Kent via press release. "Now it’s Hyatt’s turn."
Michael D'Angelo, Hyatt's vice president of labor relations for the Americas, told the Chicago Tribune that "Hyatt has agreed to the same wage benefit increases and extended health care that the union has agreed to with other hotels. The union is remaining uncooperative, further demonstrating that it has no desire to reach an agreement. We remain committed to finalizing an agreement and hope the union is as well."
UNITE HERE, 'Striking for Common Decency'
UNITE HERE Local 1—made up of housekeepers, culinary workers, doormen and other hotel employees in Chicago and Northwest Indiana—is striking for year-round health care, more adequate wages and better work conditions. For instance, the new collective bargaining agreements include wintertime health care protection.
Although agreements have been reached with 19 Chicago hotels, workers remain on strike at seven properties. “7 more hotels to go!” UNITE HERE Local 1 declared via tweet.
The seven hotels are listed here.*
According to the Chicago Tribune, hotel workers have been on strike for two weeks (at the time of this article's publication)—about 6,000 workers across 30 downtown Chicago hotels are covered by contracts that expired at the end of August. The newspaper also reported that 26 hotels have experienced a work stoppage.
Six Marriott-owned hotels were included on the Chicago Tribune's stoppage list.
At the conclusion of Thursday, September 20's successful contract negotiations with Marriott hotels in Chicago, UNITE HERE Local 1 President Karen Kent issued the following statement:
“On behalf of striking members of UNITE HERE Local 1, we wish to thank the Chicago Building Trades, the Teamsters, the Elevator Constructors, and the Chicago Federation of Labor for honoring our picket lines.”
Marriott International shared a statement of its own with Meetings Today on Friday, September 21:
“We can confirm that an agreement has been signed. We appreciate the assistance provided by the Mayor’s office. We look forward to having our associates back to work.”
Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel Weighs in on Union Contract Settlement
In a statement on Thursday, according to ABC 7 Chicago, Mayor Rahm Emanuel said:
"I want to commend the members of UNITE HERE Local 1 and Marriott for staying at the table, working in good faith and reaching an agreement that reflects their shared interests," Emanuel said.
"This agreement is a significant step forward for the union, the hotels and the city and I am confident it can light a path forward to ending the labor action at other hotels in the city," he added.
Beyond the active hotel strike in Chicago, UNITE HERE hospitality worker union chapters in San Francisco, Boston, Seattle, San Jose, Honolulu and Maui recently voted yes to authorize strikes in their cities.
Meetings Today Chief Content Director Tyler Davidson was on the scene for the UNITE HERE Local 2 strike authorization vote in San Francisco. His original reporting is available here.
A related video filmed by Meetings Today in San Francisco is embedded below.
Meetings Today Chief Content Director Tyler Davidson contributed to this reporting.
*Editor's Note: UNITE HERE Local 1 announced on Thursday, October 4 that it reached a contract agreement the Warwick Allerton, bringing its list of hotels affected by the labor strike down to seven.
Digital Content Specialist Eric Andersen updated this article on October 4 to reflect the news.
The original version of this article, listing agreements with seven hotels, was published on September 21.