Congress Hotel Strike Ends, 10-Year Strike Was Among The Longest In The World

The nearly decade-long worker strike at the Congress Hotel has reportedly come to an end.

According to Unite Here Local 1, the union representing Chicago hospitality workers, the strike ended Wednesday night following years of pickets and rallies dating back to Father's Day, June 15, 2003 at the Chicago hotel. The union claims their strike has been "widely recognized as the world's longest strike."

The striking workers had long called for wage and benefit increases and job security, but CBS Chicago reports the hotel has not offered any such concessions. The union will return to work under the terms of their last contract, which expired in 2002, according to the Chicago Tribune.

Per the expired contract, the workers' wages will remain at $8.83 per hour, while the standard wage for hotel room attendants citywide is currently almost double that: $16.40 per hour, according to the Chicago Sun-Times.

Unite Here Local 1 President Henry Tamarin said in a statement "the decision to end the Congress strike was a hard one, but it is the right time for the Union and the strikers to move on." The union has already found jobs for over 60 strikers, according to the union, and is looking for more for the remaining 70 strikers.

"The hotel treats their workers and customers equally poor and the community knows it. There is no more to do there," Tamarin continued.

CORRECTION: A previous version of this story's headline called the Congress Hotel worker strike the longest in the world, but this was only protest organizers' designation. At least one other strike, initiated by BTR-Sarmcol rubber factory workers in South Africa, was longer.



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