Entries by Sarah Lyons

NYTimes: Spurred by #MeToo, a Harassment Task Force Reconvenes

” ‘He was blocking her path to the door, so she had to barrel and run into him and jump over the bed just to get out of the room,’ said Ms. Nalls, a casino cocktail server and a member of Unite Here Local 1, a hospitality workers’ union in Chicago and northwest Indiana.
Ms. Nalls was one of several legal experts, entrepreneurs, nonprofit workers and labor advocates who spoke Monday at a meeting held in Washington by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.”

The Atlantic’s City Lab: The Local Fight to End Sexual Assault in Low-Wage Jobs

“In Chicago, using UNITE HERE’s report as a launchpad, the Chicago Federation of Labor spearheaded legislation asking employers to put in greater protections. The city passed a law in October that, among other things, mandates employers provide a panic button that hotel workers can use to call hotel security if they feel unsafe.”

Press Release: UNITE HERE Celebrates Our Union Members Being Named TIME Magazine’s Person of the Year

“Today UNITE HERE celebrates TIME Magazine naming our union hotel housekeepers who stood up to sexual harassment from guests as their 2017 Person of the Year, in their Silence Breakers issue on stands Friday. Our Person of the Year recognition specifically features UNITE HERE hotel workers Juana of UNITE HERE Local 11 and Esthela of UNITE HERE Local 1, who both spoke out about sexual harassment they experienced at work in 2017 and then went on to run union campaigns in their own cities to reform the harassment epidemic in the hospitality industry. “

The Nation: Stopping Sexual Abuse on the Job Begins With Empowering Workers

“Chicago hotel housekeepers will report to work with a new piece of gear in the coming months: not buckets and gloves, but a small electronic alarm, which they can sound if they encounter the occupational hazard that’s haunted them silently for years: a sexual attack.

The “panic button” fits in a housekeeper’s palm, but it’s the product of a massive public campaignled by the hotel workers union, UNITE HERE, for a local law to provide the devices as part of standard safety gear. More than an emergency technology, it’s a symbol of solidarity and recognition amid a culture of fear and silence. But the button just marks a start of a global conversation on redressing and preventing gender-based violence at work.”

TIME Person of the Year 2017: The Silence Breakers

“The women and men who have broken their silence span all races, all income classes, all occupations and virtually all corners of the globe. They might labor in California fields, or behind the front desk at New York City’s regal Plaza Hotel, or in the European Parliament. They’re part of a movement that has no formal name. But now they have a voice.

State and local governments have also taken some concrete steps. In October, the Chicago city council passed an ordinance­ requiring hotels to provide panic buttons to employees who work alone in hotel rooms. “

Washington Post, Opinions: The sexual harassment conversation needs to move to the next level

“Yet, as journalist Barbara Ehrenreich has noted, “our current sex harassment discussion is woefully class-skewed. Too much about actresses and not enough about hotel housekeepers.” Sexual harassment is grounded in an imbalance of power, the heady sense that one can commit wrongful acts with impunity. Not surprisingly, it is most prevalent where the power imbalance is the most extreme. Ehrenreich cites Chicago’s Unite Here Local 1, the hospitality union, which found that nearly 60 percent of hotel workers in the greater Chicago area reported being sexually harassed on the job. Too often the male guests feel free to get “handsy” or to appear with no clothes on.”