Chicago, Ill.—After nearly a decade of picketing outside of the Congress Plaza Hotel in Chicago, Unite Here Local 1, the union representing Chicago’s hospitality workers, has announced the end of the strike. The 10-year protest marks one of the longest strikes in history.
On June 15, 2003, 130 members of Unite Here walked out on strike after the hotel reduced their wages, froze their health care contributions, and demanded the right to subcontract out all the work to minimum wage subcontracted workers. The strikers have picketed regularly ever since and held mass rallies over the years.
“The decision to end the Congress strike was a hard one, but it is the right time for the union and the strikers to move on. The boycott has effectively dramatically reduced the hotel’s business,” says Henry Tamarin, union president. “We don’t see getting a contract here, and we have many more battles to fight for economic justice.”
The union has found jobs for over 60 strikers over the years. It has made an unconditional offer to return to work on behalf of the strikers, but it is unclear whether any strikers will choose that option.