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PI Original
by Ellyn Fortino
5:25pm
Tue Feb 23, 2016

Candidates In 2nd Senate District Clash On Charter Schools, Progressive Credentials

Progress Illinois previews the Democratic primary race between Angelica Alfaro and Omar Aquino, who are competing for the Illinois Senate seat being vacated by retiring state Sen. William Delgado (D-Chicago).

Quick Hit
by Aricka Flowers
12:55pm
Wed Jan 13, 2016

UNITE HERE Ad Campaign Targets Moylan On Issue Of Workplace Sexual Harassment (VIDEO)

UNITE HERE Local 1 targeted state Rep. Mary Moylan (D-Des Plaines) with a new ad Wednesday, alleging that the lawmaker made light of a casino worker's claim of sexual harassment at the workplace.

The Rivers Casino buffet server alleges that when she was sexually harassed by a patron at her workplace, higher ups at the facility "took no action" on the complaint, according to the ad, prompting her to contact Moylan's office for further assistance. The union alleges that Moylan "laughed after [the] 21 year-old waitress came forward to share her story of sexual harassment." Moylan's district includes the suburb of Des Plaines, where Rivers Casino is located. 

"Representative Moylan's behavior demonstrates a need for a very public challenge," says UNITE HERE Local 1 President Karen Kent. "We need to show our daughters, nieces, friends and colleagues that we are behind them, that we believe in them, that we've been there, and we're going to end it. I invite leaders, entrepreneurs, activists, public officials to step up and support the young women, the women with the fewest resources, who are making their way in the world."

Meanwhile, Moylan is balking at the union's claims.

Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
3:55pm
Wed Aug 5, 2015

Housekeepers Call For Workplace Safety Improvements At Hotel Monaco Chicago

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."

Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
2:16pm
Thu Jan 29, 2015

UNITE HERE Airline Catering Workers Launch Affordable Health Care Campaign (VIDEO)

Airline food service workers took their new "nickel a ticket" campaign for affordable health care to the downtown Chicago headquarters of United Airlines Thursday morning.

Gate Gourmet airline catering employees at O'Hare International Airport, represented by UNITE HERE Local 1, delivered a letter to the airline's offices at Willis Tower, calling on United to set aside one nickel per passenger ticket to help "fix the problem of unaffordable health care" for the workers.

The letter was delivered on behalf of more than 10,000 airline food service workers from various catering companies at 42 U.S. airports, according to organizers. In addition to the letter, Chicago Gate Gourmet employees dropped off a box to United's offices containing photos of 1,000 of the catering workers who have signed a petition asking the airline to earmark a nickel per passenger ticket for health care costs.

UNITE HERE's national "nickel a ticket" worker campaign, launched on Thursday, is targeting United, as well as American and Delta airlines.

"We're in Chicago with our group, and we have workers that are rallying also in Atlanta, which is the home of Delta Airlines. We have workers in Dallas, home of American, and 17 additional cities across the U.S. starting the campaign today," said Meghan Cohorst, spokeswoman for UNITE HERE Local 1, which represents 900 Gate Gourmet workers at O'Hare.

Quick Hit
by Ashlee Rezin
4:28pm
Fri Dec 5, 2014

Housekeepers Protest Green Program At Chicago Hotels (VIDEO)

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.

Quick Hit
by Ashlee Rezin
4:27pm
Fri May 9, 2014

Sodexo Workers Rally To Save Food Service Jobs At The Thompson Center (VIDEO)

In the face of expected layoffs, food service workers from the Thompson Center cafeteria rallied Friday morning in downtown Chicago, calling on Gov. Pat Quinn to protect their jobs in the building that houses his local office.

“We need Quinn to step in and save our jobs, we’re in his house, serving his employees and—while he’s saying he wants to raise the minimum wage—we’re about to be unemployed,” said Sharon Nix, 35, a contract Sodexo employee at the James R. Thompson Center, at 100 W. Randolph St., for roughly 13 years.

Nix’s manager at Sandella’s Flatbread Café told workers in April that Sodexo, one of the nation's largest contracted food and facilities companies, plans to leave its post at the Thompson Center’s Great State Fare cafeteria by June 30, she said. Nix claims she was told she and her colleagues would be laid off, and would have to reapply for a position with the new company that takes Sodexo’s place.

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