Friday, September 25, 2009

How Protests Are Done, Unite-Here in Chicago

Progress Illinois:

Nearly a month after their multi-year contract expired and with no agreement in sight, 6,000 Chicago-based hotel workers represented by UNITE-HERE Local 1 decided yesterday it was time to raise their profile. In a dramatic and peaceful act of protest, 22nd Ward Ald. Ric Munoz (chief sponsor of the city's pending right-to-know notification law), union advocates, and roughly 200 hospitality workers blocked traffic near the Magnificent Mile at the height of rush hour to protest proposed wage and health coverage cuts. Another 700 workers and supporters cheered on as police slowly escorted the sit-in participants to police buses for processing. (Those arrested face minimum fines of $90 for failure to exercise due care by sitting in a roadway.

While the location -- in front of the Park Hyatt, just steps from the Old Water Tower -- succeeded in attracting significant media attention, that was not the only motivating factor. Hyatt Regency is perhaps the largest and most influential hotel operator in Chicago; how they treat their employees effects chains across the city. They laid off 19.5 percent of their workforce between November 2008 and March 2009 and forced the remaining staff to work overtime to cover the lost hours, as employee Francine Jones explained earlier this month. Now, UNITE-HERE officials say Hyatt is requiring that employees work 120 hours a month in order to qualify for health insurance, which would disqualify almost half of their workers

This is the good that protesting and UNIONS can do. AND THIS IS HOW IT IS DONE. UNITE-HERE is simply asking for what most working individuals take for granted or have access to. Fair wages, 40 hour works weeks and health benefits. These employees don't have a choice, not another option and their families are greatly effected by greedy corporate heads reckless decisions.

And this leads me to point out something very wrong in our current health care debate, not enough people are covering how difficult it is to get quality care in the first place. No wonder 65% when polled approved the public option. You have to protest and negoiate for health care in America.

I am Frank Chow and I approved this message

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