Hotel employee Thomas Lee:
“Do Hotels survive without me?”
by Bolor Ider
On 18th September, some students of Mr. Eric`s class from University of Potomac interviewed a few protesters on the street at Hilton on Michigan Ave.
We can see the positive effects of immigration in the State of Illinois. Research showed that immigrants living in Chicago help grow the hospitality industry by allowing native-born workers to specialize in communication-intensive jobs like managerial positions, while immigrants often require more manual labor. A verified anonymous immigrant says he joined the union because he needed a secure job, even if he pays an annual member fee of 20% plus. From here, he believes his co-workers need to have sufficient healthcare coverage for their lives. He also mentioned that he is protesting for his immigrant co-workers, they`ve been working in the field for their whole lives, it`s their right to fight for where they feel they have been wronged.
2nd interviewee---Christine, a house attendant at the Hilton Hotel: “...I still need my diabetes medication when I’m laid off. Nobody should lose their health benefits just because it’s cold out, doesn`t matter where you from and how the business went slow.” They believe that they work them like dogs when it`s busy and then kick them to the curb in the winter. Companies are hiring temporary workers during the glooming business season to avoid full time employee benefits. But we suffer from it, we do more labors while those temporary workers are not trained.
Let`s just focus on the healthcare. After about a week of negotiations, a strike was called to secure health insurance for hotel staff that are laid off in winter when business is slower. Employees say they’ve had enough of management eliminating positions in the winter and piling more work on the staff that’s left
3rd interviewee---Wilson, non-union member security worker at Hilton Chicago believes workers need a right to protest even without involving Union. It`s good some of us to fight for having a good life, however, the union taking money from its members but asking workers to be on strike themselves instead of finding a way to do the negotiation in a way that benefit both parts. “They had no choice, but to protest” said by Wilson. They can`t apply to County Care, because they are at the right above the line of Medicaid requirement, but they are not wealthy enough to afford high insurance costs.
Didn`t they know their healthcare policy when signed the contract with their employers?
---Some of them are known, while some are not with their education or because their lack of attention on this section of the contract. Indeed, the contact has already ended this year August. Workers didn`t want to keep the previous contract, they want change! They believe everything has to be changed at least little if economy also changes. On this, one of the worker stated that he is getting the same salary, but expenses are getting increased.
A SOLDIER'S TALE
Being the U.S. Citizen is a dream for all immigrants. I moved to the U.S. in 2012 to pursue a better life. I attended school to get my english better. Fall semester in 2015 was the first time I heard about MAVNI program. MAVNI (Military Accessions Vital to the National Interest) is a program for non-immigrants to join U.S. military with special language skill. The Defense Department promises us to expedite citizenship once we finish Basic Combat Training. So, I enlisted in U.S. Army Reserve with a hope to be a part of this amazing country. Unfortunately, this program was shut down and slowed down the process. I and the other 5,000 MAVNIs got an effect of it. Nobody has gotten a ship date for their BCT. I have been serving as a U.S. military for 2 year and a half. I have been going for pre-basic training in my future military unit every month for 2 years to learn new things. Now, I am still waiting for my ship date to become a real U.S. Army. I am very proud to join U.S. military and protect this great nation. My wish is that my dream will become true soon.
- SPC Athikkamasakul, Adirek