Concessions workers at Wrigley Field have voted to authorize a strike, meaning that a union strike could begin at any time.
The workers are employed by Levy Restaurants, a subsidiary of Compass Group, and it is possible they could activate a strike today as the Chicago Cubs begin their final home series of the year against the Colorado Rockies at 1:20pm CT.
The timing is almost certainly strategic, as that is the entire point of this kind of collective action. I don’t know how much the Cubs can do about it, directly, other than perhaps applying pressure on their business partner(s) to get a deal done. There was already at least one very visible protest at Wrigley Field back in August. Levy tells ABC-7 that it has been bargaining in good faith with the concessions workers.
From the union’s perspective, it’s time to get a new contract in place, as the workers have been operating without one for nearly three years now. Per the union, the workers make as little as $15.80 an hour, and they are seeking a $20 per hour minimum, expanded health care coverage, and a pension.
I had been planning to be there at Wrigley Field today with my son, and I have always appreciated the courteous and professional concessions staff at the ballpark. I hope they are appropriately taken care of, and soon.
Sections from a union release, explaining the reasons behind the strike authorization:
“I voted yes to strike because when the season ends, I lose my health insurance. I have to pay out of pocket for my blood pressure medicine. It’s very stressful. I want to stay healthy so I can be there for my two children,” said Carlos Aguirre, a suite runner for Compass Levy at Wrigley Field who has worked there for 27 seasons.
“My children look to me to set the standard. The standard should not be $15.80 per hour or having to hold two jobs but still struggle. Working two jobs means my two children are usually already asleep by the time I get home from work. I miss getting to read a book with them before bedtime. I don’t want to strike but I will because my children and I deserve better,” said Sarah Williams who has worked for two seasons for Compass Levy at Wrigley Field as a stand lead.
Wrigley Field is the only Chicago stadium with workers represented by UNITE HERE Local 1 whose concessionaire has not settled a contract with its workers. Earlier this year, White Sox’s concessionaire Delaware North settled a contract that provides workers at Guaranteed Rate Field with the same standards that Compass Levy workers at Wrigley Field are demanding ….
“Workers of Compass Levy at Wrigley Field welcome visitors to one of the most iconic venues in Chicago and serve baseball fans with dedication. They are asking for nothing more than to be treated equally to stadium workers at the United Center and Sox Park so they can take care of their families and live with dignity. Concessions workers at Wrigley Field are tired of waiting for Compass Levy to step up to the plate and are ready to do whatever it takes to win a fair contract,” said Karen Kent, President of UNITE HERE Local 1.