Dirty rooms, check-in delays, managers changing the sheets: Downtown strike puts hotels in a bind

ChicagoTribune/By Alexia Elejalde-Ruiz and Robert Channick/Contact Reporters/ september2018

 

CHICAGO HUELGA

 

As a strike against 25 downtown Chicago hotels entered its fourth day on Monday, managers at some locations were scrambling to keep operations running and guests were complaining about dirty rooms and check-in delays.

Kristian Hulgard, in town from Dallas for the International Manufacturing Technology Show, said it took him eight hours to check into his room at the Palmer House Hilton. The hotel offered free drinks and food to compensate for the trouble, but once he did get in, around midnight, he discovered the room had not been cleaned.

“All in all, it’s not that big a deal,” Hulgard said Monday morning as he waited outside the Loop hotel to board a bus that would take him and his colleagues to McCormick Place for the convention, which was expected to bring 114,000 people to the city this week. “But when you’ve paid $300 a night, you want something like that to work, of course.”

Thousands of housekeepers, doormen, cooks and other hotel employees have been on strike since early Friday morning at 25 downtown hotels as they negotiate new contracts. Their primary demand is year-round health insurance for colleagues who get laid off during the slow winter season.

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