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Union contracts for 6,000 workers expire today

September 01, 2009
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CHICAGO — Union contracts for roughly 6,000 workers represented by the Union of Needletrades, Industrial and Textile Employees-Hotel Employees and Restaurant Employees International Union (UNITE-HERE) at 30 downtown hotels will expire today at 11:59 p.m., according to the Chi-Town Daily News.
Tomorrow around 10 a.m., the union will hold a press conference in front of the Hyatt Regency Chicago to warn the hotels that nothing is off the table now that the workers are no longer under contract — not even a strike, the story stated.
UNITE-HERE spokeswoman Annemarie Strassel said: "The hotels are using the economy as an excuse to slow everything down. We''re willing to continue to negotiate, but at a certain point, we''re going to hit a breaking point. Tomorrow''s about putting the hotels on notice. Quite frankly, I think the hotels are counting on people to be too scared for their jobs and too afraid to say anything, that they''re just going to take it."
The hotels are allegedly trying to cut medical benefits to employees who are being overworked as others are laid off, the story noted.
In past years, labor unions and managers at the hotels have been able to iron out new contracts before or shortly after their old ones expire, but not this time, the story added.
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