Unite Here Local 1 is a labor union affiliated with Unite Here, representing hospitality workers in the Chicago metropolitan area and Northwest Indiana.
Unite Here, of which Local 1 is a part, is a member of the AFL-CIO labor federation. In the mid-2000s, Unite Here had a failed alliance with the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) and its rival federation Change to Win.
Unite Here Local 1 instigated a city-wide strike for hotel workers across 26 hotels in Chicago on September 7, 2018. The initial strike lasted approximately one month, but workers at one hotel remained on strike as of April 2019. 1
Unite Here Local 1 is a Unite Here (sometimes styled UNITE HERE or Unite HERE) affiliated labor union based in Chicagoland and Northwest Indiana. The union represents more than 15,000 workers in the hospitality field, most of whom work in hotels, casinos, restaurants, airports, stadiums, convention centers, and school cafeterias. 2
Unite Here Local 1 supported the re-election campaign for then-Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel (D) in 2015 by creating a television advertisement declaring the union’s “Rahm Love.” 3
Critics of Emanuel noted that this endorsement from Unite Here was strange. Emanuel was far from the furthest-left candidate and has used foul language to address concerns of unions. While serving in the Obama administration, he dismissed the concerns of the United Auto Workers union by exclaiming “f—- the UAW,” according to the book Overhaul by former Obama administration advisor Steve Rattner. 4 Emanuel also said “F—- you, Lewis,” during a sit-down with the former president of the Chicago Teachers Union, Karen Lewis. 5
Unite Here Local 1 reached a labor agreement with Hilton Worldwide in 2011 after the union began negotiating contracts in 2009. Unite Here settled coverage for 1,600 workers at the Drake, Chicago Hilton, Palmer House Hilton, and Hilton O’Hare. 6
The union also led other strikes against Hyatt Hotels. The strikes began in 2011 due to Hyatt Hotels’ use of subcontracting, outsourcing, and alleged abuse of its workers. 7 During strikes against Hyatt Hotels in 2012, Unite Here Local 1 president Henry Tamarin attacked the politically connected Pritzker family, who owns the hotel chain, by claiming the family was not doing what was “fair and just” by appealing property tax, despite acknowledging it was legal to do so. 8
Unite Here Local 1 called a city-wide strike across 25 hotels in Chicago on September 7, 2018. Approximately 6000 employees on strike at the time were represented by the union. 9 Hotels such as the Hyatt Regency Chicago, JW Marriott, Sheraton Grand, and Hilton Chicago were all affected, as workers demanded higher wages, year-round health insurance, and sick days. 10
The city-wide strikes lasted approximately one month, with most of the hotels agreeing contracts with Unite Here Local 1. 11 One hotel remains struck. 12
- Elejalde-Ruiz, Alexia. “‘We Have to Show Them That We’re Not Going to Give Up.’ Seven Months into Strike, Cambria Hotel Workers Fight On.” Chicagotribune.com. April 08, 2019. Accessed June 03, 2019. https://www.chicagotribune.com/business/ct-biz-cambria-hotel-strike-continues-20190405-story.html.
- “About Local 1.” UNITE HERE Local 1. Accessed May 29, 2019. https://www.unitehere1.org/about-local-1/.
- Cox, Ted. “Union Workers Declare Their Love for ‘Tough Guy’ Rahm in New Ad.” DNAinfo Chicago. March 23, 2015. Accessed May 29, 2019. https://www.dnainfo.com/chicago/20150323/loop/union-workers-declare-their-love-for-tough-guy-rahm-new-ad/.
- Carty, Sharon Silke. USA Today. September 21, 2010. Accessed May 29, 2019. https://usatoday30.usatoday.com/money/autos/2010-09-21-rattner21_ST_N.htm.
- Carlson, Erin. “Karen Lewis Stops Dropping Rahm’s Name in Public.” NBC Chicago. August 22, 2014. Accessed May 29, 2019. https://www.nbcchicago.com/blogs/ward-room/Karen-Lewis-Refuses-to-Say-Rahms-Name-272309791.html.
- “Hilton Hotel, Unions Reach Agreement.” CBS Chicago. March 07, 2011. Accessed May 29, 2019. https://chicago.cbslocal.com/2011/03/07/hilton-hotel-unions-reach-agreement/.
- “Hyatt Hotel Workers Begin Weeklong Strike.” CBS Chicago. September 08, 2011. Accessed May 29, 2019. https://chicago.cbslocal.com/2011/09/08/hyatt-hotel-workers-begin-weeklong-strike/.
- “Hyatt Hotel Union Blasts Pritzker Family For Property Tax Appeals.” CBS Chicago. March 01, 2012. Accessed May 29, 2019. https://chicago.cbslocal.com/2012/03/01/hyatt-hotel-union-blasts-pritzker-family-for-property-tax-appeals/.
- “Chicago Hotel Workers Strike Continues For Second Day.” CBS Chicago. September 08, 2018. Accessed May 29, 2019. https://chicago.cbslocal.com/2018/09/08/chicago-hotel-workers-strike-continues-day-two/.
- “City-Wide Hotel Strike Grows To 26 Hotels.” CBS Chicago. September 11, 2018. Accessed May 29, 2019. https://chicago.cbslocal.com/2018/09/11/city-wide-hotel-strike-grows-to-26-hotels/.
- “Hyatt Hotel Workers Reach Contract Agreement.” CBS Chicago. October 04, 2018. Accessed May 29, 2019. https://chicago.cbslocal.com/2018/10/04/hyatt-hotel-workers-reach-contract-agreement/.
- “Workers Are on STRIKE at the Cambria Chicago Magnificent Mile Hotel.” Cambria Hotel Strike. Accessed May 29, 2019. https://www.cambriahotelstrike.org/.