Hyatt reaches contract agreement with striking Chicago hotel workers
Alexia Elejalde-Ruiz | Chicago Tribune | October 5, 2018 3:22pm
Oct. 04--Hyatt Hotels has reached a contract agreement with employees who have been on strike for nearly a month, the last major lodging group to resolve a labor dispute that at its peak caused a broad work stoppage at more than two dozen downtown Chicago hotels.
Hyatt Regency Chicago, Hyatt Regency McCormick Place and Park Hyatt Chicago reached a new five-year collective bargaining agreement Thursday morning with UNITE HERE Local 1, Chicago-based Hyatt announced. The union confirmed that workers had ratified the contract.
The Holiday Inn Chicago Mart Plaza and the Warwick Allerton also reached contract agreements with their striking employees Thursday, the union said. Workers remain on strike at four hotels.
"Under the new collective bargaining agreement, Hyatt continues to offer our colleagues competitive wages and benefits, including comprehensive health care coverage with enhanced benefits, eligible winter month coverage and no premium increases," Michael D'Angelo, Hyatt's vice president of labor relations for the Americas, said in a statement.
The resolution comes days after Hyatt announced that it was seeking federal mediation in the contract negotiations because the union, it said, was being "uncooperative." On Monday, hundreds of strikers marched outside the Hyatt Regency, banging metal pots and pans, buckets, cymbals and drums.
"After four weeks on strike, I'm proud to have a contract that guarantees healthcare in the wintertime," Demetrius Jackson, who works in convention services at the Hyatt Regency Chicago, said in a statement provided by the union. "The workers of the hotels still on strike deserve the same."
Thousands of housekeepers, doormen, cooks and other hotel workers went on strike Sept. 7 to demand year-round health insurance for employees who get temporarily laid off during the slow winter months. Other demands included higher wages for tipped workers and reduced workloads for housekeepers.
The strike affected 26 hotels at its peak, but it started to move toward a resolution after two weeks when Marriott International reached a contract agreement with workers at its six affected hotels. Hilton Hotels and Resorts, which had four affected hotels, followed a week later. This week, employees at the Wyndham Grand and the Ambassador Chicago also ended their strike after ratifying contracts.
The union called the strike after contracts expired for about 6,000 hotel workers. The new contract agreements thus far, covering 5,500 workers, include wintertime health coverage, according to the union.
The four hotels where workers remained on strike Thursday afternoon are Cambria Magnificent Mile, the Crowne Plaza Hotel Chicago-Metro, the Hampton Inn/Homewood Suites Magnificent Mile and the Kinzie Hotel.