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Quick Hit
by Ashlee Rezin
Tue May 21, 2013

Unite Here Workers Oppose Pritzker Nomination For Commerce Secretary

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.

Quick Hit
by Ashlee Rezin
Wed Apr 24, 2013

Unite Here, Hilton Reach Contract Agreement Without A Lengthy Battle

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.

Workers’ 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. 

Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
Fri Apr 19, 2013

UIC Graduate Workers Hold Strike Authorization Vote

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.

The 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 administration.

“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."

Quick Hit
by Ashlee Rezin
Thu Apr 18, 2013

SEIU Security Guards Brave Bad Weather To Rally For A Fair Contract (VIDEO)

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.

Quick Hit
by Steven Ross Johnson
Mon Mar 25, 2013

Robin Kelly Supports Local Security Officers In Their Call For A Living Wage (VIDEO)

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.”

Quick Hit
by Ashlee Rezin
Thu Mar 14, 2013

Security Officers Seeking Higher Wages In Upcoming Contract Negotiations

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.