GLENVIEW, Ill. - Members of Unite HERE Local 450 at the Wyndham Suites Hotel here filed discrimination and union busting charges against the hotel after 90 workers were fired Dec. 4.
Positions from the general manager down to the dishwasher were terminated one day before ownership of the hotel officially changed hands over to the Georgia-based Dellisart Lodging and Hospitality Management.
Many of the workers had worked at the hotel for decades and only seven employees were left with a job after the firings took place.
The workers and their union filed a discrimination complaint with the National Labor Relations Board against Dellisart. The workers claim the new management is trying to push the union out.
Despite recent hotel closings at the Wyndham in nearby Rosemont and the Sheraton in Arlington Heights, where workers are also represented by Local 450, union officials feel it's important that the Glenview workers take a stand.
Economists blame the current recession for the lack of business hotels are getting these days. Yet others say many hotels still remain quite profitable.
The Glenview workers said they were told the reason why they were fired was because the new owners did not want the hotel to be a union shop. Such a claim, union officials argue, constitutes discrimination.
Douglas Artusio, Dellisart CEO, reportedly said his company took over the hotel the day after the workers were let go and was not responsible for any earlier actions.
The previous management was court-appointed GF Management, which ran the hotel while the company was in receivership. However a former senior management employee said before the workers were fired the former interim GF Management General Manager Rick Henrickson said Dellisart had left him a long list of workers they wanted terminated before taking over. Most if not all were union workers.
Apparently another former manager also said they were told by Henrickson that Dellisart would not require their services. That former manager also claims GF Management did not pay them for accrued vacation time as required by law. Union officials say members were paid out of their accrued vacation time.
A union contract that expired last May at the Glenview hotel was recently renewed and signed off on by GF Management and was still in effect, say union officials.
Meanwhile the workers continue to regularly picket outside the hotel and union officials have been meeting with area lawmakers to help them get their jobs back.
Although the workers were given Illinois Warn Act notifications because of an ownership change, they did not think they would lose their jobs.
Their union jobs are worth fighting for, they say.
The workers and their union said they were not given the chance to apply to the new company until after they were already fired. They were told to submit applications at a different location in the nearby town of Lincolnshire.