Senate confirmation hearings for Chicago billionaire Penny Pritzker’s nomination for U.S. Secretary of Commerce are scheduled for Thursday, but workers from
the her family-owned hotel chain are already voicing
their opposition to the selection.
“This is not somebody
we want in Washington; this is a lady whose business model hurts
workers,” said Demetrius Jackson, 25, a lifelong Chicagoan and
convention service houseman at the Hyatt Regency Chicago for six years.
Four months before their existing contracts were set to expire, more than 600 Hilton Hotel workers represented by Unite Here Local 1 and Local 450 have reached a five-year contract settlement with the hotel chain.
from the Drake, Palmer House Hilton, Chicago Hilton, and Hilton O’Hare
voted Saturday to ratify the agreement with the Virginia-based hotel chain, well before the August 31 contract expiration date.
“This is really significant in that this has all
been done before the expiration of the current contract,” said Carly
Karmel, spokesperson for Unite Here.
Graduate workers at the University of Illinois at Chicago are voting on whether or not to authorize a strike after negotiations with university officials over a living wage fell short of their demands Wednesday night, according to members of the Graduate Employees Organization.
voting process to authorize a possible strike began Thursday and will
continue through Monday, which is the end of the union's next bargaining session with UIC's
“I don’t think most of our members
want to strike," said Neri Sandoval, a graduate assistant in UIC's
Department of African-American Studies. "I think it’s something that, I
believe, is an outcome of a series of events the university has led to."
This is the third and final week of collective bargaining before the SEIU* Local 1
security officers’ contracts are set to expire, and despite a
thunderstorm and flood warnings, union members gathered at the Thompson
Center late Wednesday afternoon to rally for higher wages.
“You’re sending a very
strong message today, that no matter what the weather is like you still
demand a good contract,” said Efrain Elias, a union representative for
SEIU Local 1, to a group of approximately 50 demonstrators.
“We are not going to let a little rain slow us up,” he said.
Citing a lack of economic opportunities as the driving force behind
the high rate of gun violence in Chicago over the last several
years, Illinois 2nd Congressional District candidate Robin
Kelly stood alongside union security officers Saturday to call on the
city’s downtown building owners to provide fairer compensation for their
emergency “first responders.”
Tonya Yarbrough, a security officer at the Chicago Stock Exchange at
440 South LaSalle St., wakes up at 5 a.m. every day to commute on the
Green Line from Englewood to be at work by 7 a.m. in downtown Chicago.
She says she feels safer at work than she does at home.
“If I were
paid a little bit more maybe I’d be able to make a better life for
myself and my family,” she said. “Maybe I could move to a better neighborhood.”
Yarbrough, 42, a born-and-raised Chicagoan and security officer of nine years, makes $12.65 an hour.