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The Congress Plaza Hotel has long been ground zero in an on-going union battle for hotel workers.
And Unite Here Local 1 has abandoned picket signs for something significantly more memorable, according to a federal lawsuit.
Cow manure. In a heart-shaped box.
The suit, filed Wednesday in Chicago, says union members sent a heart-shaped package containing cow manure to scientists scheduled to attend a convention at the hotel. The tactic was used to discourage the scientists from attending the convention. Exactly when they used the tactic was not mentioned in the lawsuit.
The hotel contends in the suit that it is following the conditions of the most recent contract and has been negotiating in good faith. The battle between union workers and the hotel is not new. It has been going on since June of 2003. The suit claims the strike actions by the union have cost the hotel more than $700,000 in revenue and violate the Labor Management Relations Act.
"In recent months," the suit claims, the union is "resorting to more aggressive campaigns and tactics that include but not limited to repeatedly sending large delegations to convention and conference attendees' places of business in order to pressure them into canceling their participation in events taking place at the hotel, such as conventions and parties."
The suit also claims the union "has aggressively harassed, threatened and intimidated numerous secondary employers and their customers and other affiliates in order to bring indirect pressure on the primary employer."