CHICAGO (CBS) — Hotel customers are complaining of dirty beds, limited services, long check-in lines, and an overall shortage of staff since hotel workers at 25 hotels in downtown Chicago went on strike.
CBS 2’s Charlie De Mar reports the workers’ absence is having an impact on those visiting Chicago and paying top dollar for their stay.
Over 100,000 people are in town for the International Manufacturing Technology Show and most of them are turning to hotels for a place to stay.
At 25 downtown convention and boutique hotels, housekeepers, servers, cooks, and doormen are on strike, demanding better benefits. Monday marked day four of the strike.
“We are out here fighting, banging pots and pans, because we are demanding year-round healthcare from our company,” said Roushaunda Williams, a bar tender at Palmer House.
The work stoppage is having a great impact on the daily operation of the hotels and those wishing to stay in them.
Mike McGillivary, who is visiting Chicago, said it is a very strange atmosphere and not what he expected when coming to Chicago.
Ernesto Melendez, another Chicago tourist, agreed.
“Our room hasn’t been cleaned for a couple of days. They gave us a notice when we checked in that they weren’t going to clean the room and that’s tough because there’s five of us in the room,” Melendez said.
In front of the Holiday Inn Mart Plaza, protesters chanted, “Your sheets haven’t been changed since last week.”
Management at the hotel says they have been cleaning rooms themselves and taking on other duties to fill the void. The same is true at the Westin.
“We’ve seen them with Windex bottles and vacuum cleaners,” said Barbara Garza, a Chicago tourist.
Despite some amenities being cut from the hotels during the strike, many staying in the hotels say their bills are still at full price.
“Free breakfast, a couple of drinks, that’s about it,” said Ernesto Melendez. “No discount on the room, for sure.”
Workers say they will stay on strike for as long as it takes to get what they call a fair deal.