Garcia Won’t Run for Mayor, More Hotel Workers Settle Strike, Treasure Island to Close – Third Coast Today 10-01-18

More Chicago Hotel Workers Ratify New Contracts

More striking Chicago hotel employees headed back to work over the weekend as workers at four more hotels ratified a new contract on Saturday.

The Palmer House Hilton, the Drake Hotel, the Hilton Chicago and DoubleTree Chicago Magnificent Mile settled contracts with UNITE Here, bringing the total number of hotels up to 15 that have ratified new contracts with striking workers. Workers at 26 hotels in Chicago went on strike almost one month ago demanding year-round healthcare benefits.

Striking Chicago hotel workers picket outside the JW Marriott Hotel in the Loop. Photo by Aaron Cynic.

With the latest settlements some 3,500 hotel workers will now receive wintertime healthcare benefits, should they be laid off for the season.

Workers at 10 other Chicago area hotels remain on strike, with the largest holdouts being the Hyatt Regency at McCormick Place and on Wacker Drive. Hundreds of workers and their supporters rallied outside the Wacker Drive location Monday afternoon.

“We will be here on strike at Hyatt Chicago for as long as it takes,” said Demetrius Jackson, a convention services worker, at the rally according to a tweet from UNITE Here. “I’m proud to have the support of thousands of hotel workers across the city.”

“Hilton, Marriott, and 6 other hotels have reached new agreements and brought the strikes to an end. Now it’s Hyatt’s turn,” said Karen Kent, President of UNITE HERE Local 1, in a statement emailed to the press.

Garcia Won’t Run for Mayor

Cook County Commissioner Jesus “Chuy” Garcia will not enter the Chicago mayor’s race. Sources close to Garcia told the Sun-Times that the commissioner and former 2015 mayoral candidate gathered his cabinet together and told them he wouldn’t be running.

Retiring Congressman Luis Gutierrez began a “draft Chuy” campaign a few weeks ago to woo Garcia into stepping into the extremely crowded ring. But despite this, Garcia is said to have decided not to run, in part because of a potential lack of financial resources. Last election cycle the bulk of Garcia’s money came from unions that he was not sure would support him this time around.

Cook County Commissioner Jesus “Chuy” Garcia gives his concession speech in his runoff for mayor with Rahm Emanuel in 2015. Photo by Aaron Cynic.

“Without SEIU or CTU, where would his money have come from,” a source close to Garcia told the Sun-Times. “He would have been forced to forge a brown-white coalition with the business community. His old friends—the people who have been with him since the `70’s and `80’s — were not comfortable with that. They didn’t want to do that.”

Garcia is currently running to take Gutierrez’s seat in the U.S. House of Representatives. In a statement emailed to press on Monday afternoon, Garcia said he was “truly moved” by the “faith and confidence” people who wanted him to run for mayor displayed, but that he felt he could do more in Washington.

“I love this city. I love its complexity, its diversity, energy and its ever-changing issues and opportunities,” said Garcia. “It’s also a city in deep crisis with savage inequality and broken relationships between communities and police and of course continuing fiscal problems. But in the final analysis, I sincerely believe I can do more for my city now in Washington. This decision is not about ascendancy or political positioning; it is about integrity and what I feel I can do for my city in Congress.”

At least 16 candidates have formally announced or at least announced their intention to run for mayor of Chicago in 2019, with even more still weighing potential runs.

Treasure Island to Close All Stores

Treasure Island plans to close all of its stores by October 12. The family-owned Chicago grocery chain will shutter operations at all six locations, and most are already displaying “going out of business” signs.

“We have done everything we could to attempt to get the company on solid ground to try to operate for another 55 years,” CEO Maria Kamberos said, according to a note given to employees obtained by the Chicago Tribune. “Unfortunately, given the current industry conditions, it has been impossible for us to continue to operate without losing money.”

Treasure Island has been a Chicago institution since 1963, and employs hundreds in the Chicagoland area. Corporate employees who found out they were being laid off on Friday will not receive any kind of severance, payouts for paid time off, or other benefits.

One now former corporate employee told the Tribune they were “completely shell-shocked, floored and immensely hurt.”

Aaron Cynic
Aaron Cynic