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Union Workers for Four Hilton-operated Properties
in Chicago Overwhelmingly Ratify New Contract
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Room Attendants Will Now Earn $13.20 per Hour and the 16 Room
Daily Quota Reduced on Heavy Check Out Days
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Chicago – September 7, 2006  - Yesterday, workers from four Hilton-operated properties in Chicago (the Chicago Hilton & Towers, the Palmer House Hilton, the Drake Hotel and the Hilton O’Hare) voted overwhelmingly (98%) to approve a settlement reached between the company and the Union last week. 

The three-year contract, effective retroactively to September 1, includes an immediate wage increase of $1.10 per hour for non-tipped employees. The wages will increase another $1.40 over the second and third years of the contract. Room attendants, the largest job classification in the hotels, will now earn $13.20 an hour. 

The contract also makes improvement in healthcare, with a new vision plan and expanded dental coverage. Workers on disability leave will now make $225 a week, a trebling of the previous amount. Employer contributions to the pension plan will increase by 47 cents per hour over the life of the agreement. 

In the area of workload, which has become a big problem for room attendants dealing with upgraded luxury amenities in the rooms, room attendants will be able to reduce their daily room quota on heavy check-out days. Currently workers have to clean 16 rooms per day. Under the new contract, room attendants can drop one room after 11 check-outs, two rooms after 12 check-outs, and three after 13. 

Another significant feature of the new agreement is that workers at any new hotels built or managed by Hilton will be able to join the union without employer opposition. “In Chicago, Union hotel workers set the standard. Workers in non-union hotels want to enjoy the same rights on the job. This new agreement will let workers organize to raise their families into the middle class,” said Henry Tamarin, President of UNITE HERE Local 1. 

“Just four years ago, I earned just $8.83,” said Sherri Steverson, a room attendant at the Chicago Hilton. “Back then, we had to pay $85 per month for family healthcare, and it was a terrible plan. Now it’s $30, with a lot better plan. We’ve come a long way.” 

“We’re so happy to get some relief,” said Ernestine Willis, a room attendant at the Chicago Hilton & Towers. “With this new workload language, we shouldn’t have to go home in pain each day. We’re proud of this new contract!” 

Meanwhile, Chicago hotel workers plan to protest Hyatt.  “We’re deeply concerned with Hyatt’s aggressive posture towards our sisters and brothers in San Francisco, Honolulu and Monterey, ” said President Tamarin. “Workers in San Francisco have not had a raise in three years. This is unacceptable.” 

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Contact:

Lars Negstad
UNITE HERE Local 1
55 W. Van Buren
Chicago IL 60605
Tel. 312-663-4373 x243
http://www.unitehere.org

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Also See: Chicago Hotel Workers Union Separates Hilton and Hyatt Contract Negotiations from Other Chicago Hotels; Threatens a Strike as Soon as September 1 / July 2006
Hotel Association of New York City and Union Reach Tentative Agreement; Six-year contract Provides Wage Increases of 4% in Each of the First Three Years and 3.5% in Each of the Last Three Years / June 2006


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