Chicago DSA Joins Hyatt Picket Line

by Bob Roman

Chicago DSA members and friends at the Hyatt Regency West Tower picket line on Saturday afternoon, September 10. Maria Svart, DSA's National Director, is 2nd from the left.

UNITE HERE  recently  called a one day strike against selected Hyatt hotel facilities in Chicago, Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Honolulu. In Chicago, the Hyatt Regency and the Hyatt McCormick were being struck. The last contract at these Hyatt facilities expired in August, 2009.

At the Saturday, September 10 Chicago DSA membership meeting, we decided to join the picket line at the Hyatt Regency after the meeting concluded. Six of us, including DSA’s new national director Maria Svart, joined the picket line. We also had a second delegation marching at the Regency on Sunday morning.

The Hyatt Regency has been particularly obdurate in dealing with pickets, starting by claiming Stetson Ave. that runs between the East and West towers is a private street thus off limits to pickets. When that failed, they moved in large concrete planters, scaffolding, and a couple of cross-country buses. For a while, the buses were kept running, creating a poisonous environment for pickets.

In other news, Local 1 members ratified their first contract at the Blackstone Hotel, including a $96,000 payout for workers who had been fired during the campaign. The campaign began shortly after the hotel reopened in 2008.

Bob Roman is editor of New Ground, the newsletter of Chicago Democratic Socialists of America. This report originally appeared in the Sept-Oct 2011 issue.

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