Dozens of Hyatt Regency Chicago employees started their work week not by clocking in but by picketing.
Unite Here Local 1 members held up picket signs and chanted outside the hotel, 151 E. Wacker, early Monday morning for their one-day strike.
The hotel employees claimed the Hyatt refused to promise that it would not to subcontract the workers' jobs and improve working conditions for housekeepers, according to a Unite Here release.
The Hyatt called the protest a "production" to boost the union's membership and dues. The hotel chain blamed Unite Here for forcing it to file an unfair labor practice claim after negotiations broke down after 20 months, according to a Hyatt press release.
"Even more frustrating is that our most recent proposal does not ask for employee concessions and matches the pay and benefits package the union has agreed to with other Chicago area hotels, yet this was rejected by [Unite Here] leadership," according to the Hyatt's statement.
Employees walking the picket line outside the hotel told a different story.
"We're striking to get a better contract. We're sick and tired of all the disrespect we're getting from the Hyatt hotels. We want some more respect," said Roberto Lopez, who worked at the Hyatt for 28 years. "We want to get better benefits. We're tired of the way they're treating us."
Unite Here is expecting hundreds of religious leaders to join its members on the picket line this afternoon.