Workers at Chicago Marriott stage one-day walkout

The Chicago Marriott at Medical District/UIC. Photo credit: Marriott International

Employees of the Chicago Marriott at Medical District/UIC are tired of waiting for contract negotiations to begin and left their posts for a one-day demonstration to show their displeasure. 

Workers are striking over unfair labor practices, primarily the hotel’s refusal to bargain with its workers. Housekeepers and food-and-beverage workers formed a picket line outside of the hotel earlier this morning as part of the demonstration.

The action is sudden, but not unexpected. The hotel’s housekeeping and F&B staff unanimously voted for union representation on May 2, 2018. The validity of this election was contested by the hotel’s management company, Davidson Hotels & Resorts, by way of the National Labor Relations Board. The NLRB ruled in favor of the workers, ratifying the election on Aug. 28, 2018.

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After this, a strike was inevitable.

“We’re demanding that the Marriott stop crying about the election and start negotiating, because the company has refused to bargain,” Ana Sanchez, housekeeper at the Chicago Marriott at Medical District/UIC, said in a statement. “The majority of us are in favor of the union and want to bargain together for just wages and better working conditions.”

“My coworkers and I have been overwhelmed and overworked just to finish our daily tasks,” Abel Urbano, a server in the F&B department, said in a statement. “With a union, our voices can be heard. We now have the union and demand that the hotel stop refusing to negotiate.”

The strike concludes later today, with workers expected to return to their posts tomorrow. However, these strikes are likely to continue as labor issues in the industry persist. In October, a series of ongoing strikes at Marriott hotels throughout the U.S. was extended to Hawaii, and in early November Marriott hotels in Oakland and Detroit reached deals with workers to conclude their own walkouts.

In addition, the Chicago Marriott at Medical District/UIC is owned by Xenia Hotels & Resorts, which owns the Monaco Hotel in downtown Chicago. The Monaco also voted to unionize in 2015, and recently workers at the hotel negotiated their own contract.