Pioneer Court

435 N Michigan Ave
Chicago, IL 60611, US

Category: Strikes/Riots

Used in the following map:

Labor Trail

Rallying site for an August 23, 2002, march of 4,000 hotel workers along Michigan Avenue. The workers marched as part of their fight for a new contract with Chicago's hotels. On August 1, 2002, a five-year citywide hotel contract covering 7,000 workers expired. As of that time, Chicago's hotels severely underpaid and overworked their employees. For example, a housekeeper in Chicago earned $8.83 per hour and cleaned sixteen rooms per day, while a comparable worker in New York City earned $18.15 per hour and worked thirty-five hours per week. The hotel workers, sixty percent of whom were members of the Hotel Employees and Restaurant Employees Union (HERE) Local 1 (now UNITE HERE Local 1), pressured hotel owners to bargain for a new contract. Many other unions, churches, and community organizations joined in to support the hotel workers. In July 2002, for example, Teamsters Local 705, proved space for a massive food drive to prepare for a potential strike to which over 100 churches and other organizations contributed. On August 12, 2002, 4,000 members of UNITE HERE gathered at the Cadillac Palace Theatre, and 98% of the workers voted in favor of a strike if necessary. With this show of solidarity and militancy, UNITE HERE ultimately won a citywide contract in 2002, which, accoring to the union's website, covered "nearly all union hotels downtown. Workers won major wage and benefit increases. Housekeepers who had been making $8.83 an hour now earn $11.05." The final raise to $12.10 an hour went into effect on May 1, 2006.