Downtown hotel workers strike continues, guests feel impact

CHICAGO (WLS) -- The hotel workers' strike continued Thursday as hundreds of workers marched down the Magnificent Mile to demand better wages and health care.

Approximately 6,000 employees from 26 hotels are participating in the strike.

"We're fighting for year-round health care. We want to make sure all of our members can take their kids to the doctor in the winter time when it slows down," said Local 1 spokesman Elliott Mallen. "We want to make sure our workers have safe work loads and raises to keep up with the cost of living."

RELATED: Thousands of downtown hotel workers go on strike Friday

In a statement released Thursday, Hyatt said, in part:

"Hyatt and UNITE HERE have already come to agreements this year in other markets, and we will continue negotiating in good faith in Chicago for a fair contract."

Hilton representatives agreed it would negotiate in good faith and said, "The comfort and satisfaction of our guests remain our top priorities. We're staffing in a number of ways to ensure service runs smoothly."

Click here for a full list of hotels.

"I feel pumped. We are doing a great job. They are feeling the heat," said Sheraton Grand bellman Emmanuel Sam. "They are calling us back to the table to negotiate, so we feel good about this."

Hotel guests said they are noticing the effects of the strike both outside and inside the hotel.

"Sometimes it's clean, other times it's not clean," said Warwick Allerton guest Rafael De La Pena.

In the end, workers want a solution.

"Sign that contract - that's the message," said Drake Hotel room attendant Deela Ray. "You sign it, we're back at work. You don't sign it - then we're out here!"
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