Chicago SunTimes: Double-whammy of mandates on Chicago hotels ; one whammy on hold

"The first of the measures approved by the City Council Wednesday follows an emotional appeal from hotel workers who claim to have been sexually harassed. It requires hotels to provide employees working alone with portable panic buttons — akin to a Medic-Alert worn by senior citizens — that would alert hotel security. Instead of connecting the panic button to 911 and summoning overburdened police officers, Harris said she decided to trust hotel security. The ordinance championed by Ald. Michelle Harris (8th) at the behest of Unite Here Local 1 would also require hotels to “develop, maintain and comply with a written, anti-sexual harassment policy.” "

CBS Chicago: New Ordinance Could Protect Hotel Workers From Sexual Harassment, Assault

"The Chicago City Council Committee on Workforce Development has given preliminary approval to a measure aimed at protecting hotel workers from sexual harassment and sexual assault. Alderman Michelle Harris spearheaded the measure that arose from hotel worker complaints about guests who flashed them or worse."

Chicago SunTimes: Aldermen approve proposal to protect sexually harassed hotel staff

"Those are not just statistics to Cecilia, a 28-year veteran mini-bar attendant at a Chicago hotel who works alone in guest rooms. “One day I knocked on the door of a guest room. The man inside answered, `You can come in.’ The man was sitting at his desk in front of a computer. I heard the sounds of the computer. I looked over and realized he was watching porn and masturbating,” Cecilia, who refused to give her last name, said through an interpreter. “I was so horrified and afraid. I ran from the room. The experience left me feeling dirty and without dignity. And since that experience, I felt scared about what could happen every time I open the door to a guest room. Having a panic button would make me feel safer. To know I could easily call for help if something happens would be such a relief.” "

Chicago Tribune: Chicago hotels would have to give workers 'panic buttons' under plan aldermen advance

"Ald. Edward Burke, 14th, underscored the imbalance hotel workers face. “Who does the hotel manager believe if a complaint is filed, the powerless employee or the executive paying hundreds of dollars in room charges with a corporate platinum American Express card?” Burke asked. “Without safeguards in place, it’s the employee who’s exposed and vulnerable to the abuser and even, at times, the hotel management.” "

Open Democracy: “Hands Off Pants On”: time to end gender-based abuse in the hotel industry

"Hotel housekeepers, bartenders, waitresses and cocktail servers – the majority of whom are women of color and immigrants – form the backbone of Chicago’s booming hospitality and tourism industry. Now these women are speaking out about their experiences of widespread and disturbing sexual harassment from guests. And they are calling for an end to the abuse. "

Crain's Chicago: Sexual harassment and the protection gap for Chicago's low-wage workers (Op-Ed by Sheerine Alemzadeh, co-founder of Healing to Action)

"Law enforcement agencies have been less than clear with guidance around third-party harassment by customers and guests, making protections tenuous for employees in the rapidly growing service economy. Local groups are working to shore up existing protections for the most vulnerable workers. In Chicago, Unite Here Local 1 is pushing an ordinance to strengthen hotels' responses to guest harassment."

Washington Post: A millionaire, a hotel maid and an arrest after the inauguration for sex abuse

"In November, voters in Seattle approved a measure providing hotel workers with panic buttons and other protections. And in Chicago, the city council is considering a measure that would require panic buttons. “These women deal with a constant fear when they work by themselves,” said Alderman Michelle Harris, the ordinance’s sponsor. “Will they be next?” "

Circa News: Hotels in Chicago have a sexual harassment problem. A button could be the solution.

"[This is] fabulous," Leiva said about the proposed ordinance. "If I work, it's because of my kids. This is something that benefits us, our kids and those coming after us."

Univision: Presentarán en Chicago ordenanza para proteger a empleados de hoteles contra agresiones sexuales por parte de clientes

"Una propuesta de la iniciativa de la concejal Michelle Harris es poner botones de pánico en los cuartos para que las camareras se comuniquen con agentes de seguridad."

DNA Info: Panic Buttons Could Protect Hotel Workers From Assault, Ald. Harris Says

"A proposed law would require Chicago hotels to give their workers a panic button in an effort to protect them from being sexually assaulted or harassed by guests. Introduced by 8th Ward Ald. Michelle Harris (8th), the measure has the support of the Chicago Federation of Labor, whose representatives said at a City Hall news conference Tuesday that they frequently receive complaints from hotel workers who say they have been forced to endure sexual misconduct at work."