CHICAGO (CBS) — Chicago’s striking hotel workers say they are fighting to improve their lives, but in the process, some business owners say they’re taking a hit.

CBS 2’s Dana Kozlov reports while some business owners may be sympathetic to the strikers, they do not want to become collateral damage.

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The drums, the chants, and the whistles have been ongoing for three weeks as Chicago hotel works strike for better pay and benefits.

Their picket lines, however, have been anything but beneficial to smaller, independent businesses.

“It’s very loud. Our customers who traditionally want to sit in here won’t sit in here because they can’t hear themselves,” said Teresa Ging, the owner of Sugar Bliss, a small storefront right next to a Palmer House Hilton entrance. Her business is not affiliated with the hotel.

“We understand that are protesting for their rights, but it is hard because our customers don’t want to cross the picket line or they think we’re a part of the Hilton brand,” she said.

Ging even hung a sign on her door, making sure customers and strikers, alike, know the shop is neutral. She said business, however, continues to fall.

“We’re down about 50% in sales. I’ve cut about 50% in payroll hours. It’s been very, very difficult,” Ging explained.

She is also closing early two days a week and not opening at all on Sundays. The independent flower shop next door hung a similar note, asking strikers to please keep their entrance clear. Ging hopes a resolution comes quick.

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“I’m kind of taking it week by week, you know,” she said.

CBS 2’s Dana Kozlov reached out to the union for a comment, but the spokesperson did not respond.


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