Congress Hotel Strike Enters 8th Year
On June 15, Congress Hotel Workers Commemorate 8 Years On Strike
WHERE: In front of the Congress Hotel – Congress & Michigan Ave.
On June 15, 2003, members of UNITE HERE Local 1 working at the Congress Hotel went out on strike after the hotel decided to freeze wages and slash benefits. To ensure that hotel jobs in this city are strong, family-sustaining jobs, Congress strikers have taken the fight to the streets of Chicago and around the world. Now eight years and running, the Congress Hotel strike stands as the longest hotel strike in history.
Today, Chicago housekeepers earn $15.10 an hour, while the Congress Hotel still pays 2002 wages – just $8.83 an hour. Working families in Chicago have made astounding gains in recent years because the Congress strikers have refused to settle for substandard wages.
Since the time that negotiations began, the Congress Hotel has never offered a proposal with increases in wages or the company's share of healthcare costs from the rates listed in the contract that expired in 2002.
The Congress Hotel disgraces Chicago
When Chicago opened its doors to the world for the 1893 World's Exposition, the Congress Hotel was built to welcome throngs of visiting tourists. Today, the Congress Hotel disgraces Chicago. It fell into a state of shameful disrepair. The Congress' neglect of its physical condition was matched only by its stubborn disregard for industry labor standards and a sense of basic fairness.
Poor conditions and labor strife have cost the hotel millions of dollars worth of business and the region millions in tax revenue. Moreover, the protracted struggle between workers and the hotel owners – a reclusive family scattered across three continents – has done nothing but muddy the reputation of a city that deeply depends on the tourist, trade and convention industry for its current and future economic prosperity.
Before you book your stay at the Congress Hotel, read what other customers have to say about their experience and see if it's right for you.
Meet the Strikers
Banquet Server, 5 years at Congress
"We are on strike for equality. We are all human beings and we do equal work, but we don't get paid equal wages."
Housekeeping, 6 years at Congress
"I am fighting hard to win a contract, I am fighting hard for justice for everyone here, and I am fighting hard for justice for all workers."
"We put our heart and soul into this job. We're willing to work, we're ready to work, we want to work, our spirit is uplifted, but we just want to be treated fairly.
"After working here all these years, we are not asking for the whole pie. Just give us a little crumb so that we can survive. We are the little people."