CHICAGO, May 13, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- O'Hare Airport is a major hub for both business and leisure travel, and the hotel industry is the lifeblood of the Rosemont area. Hotels in the O'Hare and Rosemont area provide an economical and safe place to stay for travelers on business and with missed or delayed flights. Teamsters Local 727 recently learned that the hospitality the Holiday Inn Chicago O'Hare provides to customers does not extend to its employees.
During this unprecedented time of need and uncertainty, Holiday Inn Chicago O'Hare – 5615 N. Cumberland Ave. – owned by Lakhani Hospitality, Inc. and operated under the Holiday Inn (NYSE:IHG) flag, have seemingly chosen to help themselves instead of their hard working employees who are struggling to survive.
Prior to the onset of the coronavirus pandemic and stay-at-home order in Illinois, representatives of Lakhani Hospitality contacted Local 727 allegedly to seek cooperation with the union in reducing the potential of economic losses and the impact on union members at the hotel. When Illinois enacted the order to close businesses to mitigate the spread of COVID-19, however, the hotel proceeded to unilaterally, and in violation of the collective bargaining agreement (CBA), furlough employees. As with other hotel employers who have furloughed union members during this time, Local 727 immediately filed a grievance as the CBA does not allow for furloughs of any kind.
On April 19, the hotel informed the union that it was approved for, and received, federal loan funding through the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) which is part of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act). The PPP program was created in an effort to provide small businesses with the resources they needed to maintain their payroll, pay their bills, and keep all employees on staff during the pandemic. Total loan forgiveness for employers who use at least 75 percent of the funds to pay for employee compensation and benefits is a key component of this program.
However, rather than use these funds to compensate and bring back their furloughed employees – who have been without work for the better part of two months – Holiday Inn Chicago O'Hare has chosen to forgo loan forgiveness and informed the union that they will not be using any of the loan to compensate or bring back any furloughed employees. Hotel management did not provide the union with a valid reason why they chose to use a government bailout program intended to help their workers on themselves.
"The actions of Holiday Inn O'Hare are truly reprehensible and the very embodiment of pervasive corporate greed," said John Coli, Jr., Secretary-Treasurer of Teamsters Local 727. "For them to be one of the first employers to ask the union for cooperation and help and then decide to keep a government loan intended to pay for and retain their hard-working employees is shameful and dishonest. Their employees and the general public should be aware and angry with the sheer greed displayed by this company."
Holiday Inn Chicago O'Hare is a hotel under the IHG® brand and serves the O'Hare airport area.
Teamsters Local 727 represents nearly 10,000 hardworking men and women throughout the Chicago area.
Nothing in this article should be read as the union's waiver of any legal argument, position or grievance(s), or as a waiver of any rights, arguments, or defenses under any contract, collective bargaining agreement, or applicable law. The union does not forfeit its right to make any and all supplemental arguments.
Caleen Carter-Patton, (847) 696-7500
SOURCE Teamsters Local Union 727, Park Ridge, Illinois