Over here, Chicagoist reports on the Congress Hotel's request for a zoning variance to add additional floors. The Chicago Plan Commission denied the request.
I used to stay there quite a bit, long before I moved to Chicago (and long before the strike). It was a neat old hotel, if a bit worn around the edges. It was affordable, and was in a great location. It was a lot of fun to stay there, and it was neat to see all the amazing architectural details in that age of building (two buildings, actually, if I remember correctly).
After I started hearing about the strike, a few years ago, and reading up on it, I was bummed out to learn that the hotel owners really seemed to be sticking it to their union employees. I don't necessarily consider myself pro-union, but the hotel doesn't seem to be playing fair and what they've offered their employees (wage cuts?) is lame. So, I supported the strike by never again staying at the Congress.
The hotel has left these employees on strike for more than five years. I think the hotel has suffered, and it's sad to hear tales about the hotel getting more and more run down over time. Sad.
Something definitely needs to change. Allowing the current owners to expand the hotel doesn't seem like the right answer, and I'm glad their request was rejected.
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