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On the picket line

September 29, 2006 | Page 15

Chicago hotel workers
By Carole Ramsden

CHICAGO--Members of the union representing the city's 7,000 unionized hotel workers have voted to approve a new three-year contract.

In a September 23 press release, Henry Tamarin, president of UNITE-HERE Local 1, said, "With the conclusion of bargaining, nearly 7,000 Chicago hotel workers will see major progress in wages, benefits and working conditions."

Negotiations targeted three separate bargaining groups, with the Hilton's 2,300 workers setting the standard, followed by the Hyatt's 1,900 workers and 2,700 at the Sheraton and Starwood Hotels. Eleven other hotels are following "me-too" agreements. There was no word on the remaining four hotels, and the Congress Hotel has been on strike since June 2003.

The contracts increase wages for room attendants by $1.10 an hour the first year, raising current wages to $13.20 an hour, plus 70 cents for each of the next two years. Also won was the reduction of daily room quotas for cleaning on heavy checkout days, and improvements in pensions and benefits. The hotels also agreed to card-check neutrality on new organizing drives for hotels the unionized ones may purchase or manage.

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