Housekeepers at the Hotel Monaco Chicago say the workplace pain they experience is impacting their quality of life.
The housekeepers, most of whom are immigrant women, took their concerns to a picket line outside the hotel Friday, urging management to improve working conditions. The non-unionized housekeepers at Hotel Monaco, 225 N. Wabash Ave., saw support from UNITE HERE Local 1 leaders and Chicago City Clerk Susana Mendoza.
Hotel Monaco housekeepers say their strenuous workloads are taking a toll on their bodies.
"Most of the pain comes from bending down to make all the beds, and I have to carry all (the) dirty linen on my back," housekeeper Maricela Gonzalez, 44, said through a translator. "I have a lot of pain in my back."
Chicago mayoral candidate and progressive Ald. Bob Fioretti (2nd) is puting a spotlight on the controversial, mayor-backed $55 million tax increment financing project for a new Marriott hotel near McCormick Place.
Hotel workers and their supporters protested outside downtown Chicago hotels Friday afternoon, alleging the "Make A Green Choice" program leads to fewer hours and intensified workloads for housekeepers.
"Many of my coworkers have gotten hurt... It's more work because we don't clean the room for three days," said Faviola Rivera, 31, a housekeeper at the Westin Chicago River North for more than eight years and mother of four children between the ages of 6 and 15.
Rivera was one of more than 100 people to protest Friday afternoon outside the Westin, Sheraton Chicago Hotel and Towers, and W Chicago City Center, all of which are owned and operated by Starwood Hotels and Resorts. The protesters delivered letters to hotel management, calling for an end to Starwood Hotels' "Make a Green Choice" program.
The program, which was introduced in 2009, rewards hotel guests with $5 dining or bar vouchers or reward points in exchange for opting out of housekeeping. In doing so, the company claims the hotels use less water, energy and resources.