Longest Hotel Strike in History Finally Over

Congress Plaza strike went on for a decade
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted May 30, 2013 1:44 PM CDT
Longest Hotel Strike in History Finally Over
The sign atop the historic Congress Plaza Hotel joins more modern architecture along Michigan Ave.   (AP Photo/M. Spencer Green)

On June 3, 2003, 130 of the Congress Plaza Hotel's cleaning and maintenance workers went on strike ... and Unite Here Local 1, the union representing them, finally agreed to a return to work as of midnight yesterday. Of course, many of the original 130 workers have since found other jobs ... or just crossed the picket line and went back to work. The 10-year strike is believed to be the world's longest hotel strike, the Chicago Tribune reports.

The workers walked out to protest planned cuts to wages and health care contributions, among other things. Over the years, they continued to picket and hold rallies, though their numbers dropped by about half three years into the strike. A hotel attorney said the move to end the strike was a surprise, considering the two sides haven't negotiated in a year. "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," says the union president. "The boycott has effectively and dramatically reduced the hotel’s business. ... There is no more to do there." (More strike stories.)

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