Scabby the Rat sightings

SEIU Local 73

SEIU Local 73 members with the Bolingbrook Park District Building and Grounds Division, along with their supporters, protest May 5 in Bolingbrook on the corner of Boughton Road and Delware Avenue. The intersection was local the homes to several Bolingbrook Park District board members. Members joined the union 21 months ago, but have yet to see their first contract. Jennifer Rice/staff photographer

Laborer’s Local 68 of Lombard

Members of Laborer’s Local 68 of Lombard, protest Corrpro Co. May 5 in Willowbrook along Route 8 and Midway Drive. Their protest paid off after the Corrpro reached out to the union for a meeting to talk. Jennifer Rice/staff photographer

Can a ‘fair and just transition’ work for all involved?

Fossil fuel based economy

A panel of professionals came together April 28 to open the lines of dialogue on what it would take to move from a fossil fuel based economy to a renewable energy economy. Experts discussed the impact the transition would have on labor and whether the transition could sustain good paying, union jobs. Jennifer Rice/staff photographer

Jennifer Rice Managing Editor

By Jennifer Rice
Managing Editor
Thursday, May 12, 2016
Email Jennifer Rice at: jen@foxvalley

WARRENVILLE — When it comes to good paying, union jobs and a healthy environment, the goal is to have both. If we can’t have both, we should have neither.

This month, a coalition of environmental organizations, spearheaded by, will hold a series of protests at energy extraction, transporting and refining sites across the U.S. and around the world. calls for the “rapid, just transition from the fossil fuel economy of the past, to the 100 percent renewable and clean energy future that climate justice demands.”

In the midwest, renewable supporters will protest the USW-represented BP Whiting oil refinery May 15, which is a few blocks from Chicago city limits.

To open the dialogue between labor and industry, Northern Illinois Jobs with Justice hosted a panel of experts April 28 to discuss what the labor impact would be to shift from a fossil fuel based economy to a renewable energy economy.



The panel of professionals represented organized labor, environmental justice issues, renewable energy training, and the health service industry.

Transferring good paying, union jobs from the fossil fuel industry into the renewable industry is a huge concern for organized labor.

USW Local 12775 President Vernon Beck represents 1,600 Northern Indiana Public Service Company (NIPSCO) union workers. Eighty four percent of his state uses coal for electricity. “If you go across the nation, there’s about 175,000 workers that are directly affected by the production of coal, whether it’s miners; railroad workers; barge workers; or the 1,600 members that I’m a part of. That doesn’t count the tens of thousands of other workers indirectly affected by coal production,” Beck said.

USW Local 12775 President Vernon Beck

USW Local 12775 President Vernon Beck has spent 38 years in the utility business. He is concerned with the efficiency and amount of renewables, as well as a lack of funding to maintain the infrastructure needed to transport gas. Jennifer Rice/staff photographer

A disturbing figure he presented was an estimated 2 percent unionized workforce in solar manufacturing. “This tells me this industry doesn’t sustain workers in terms of benefits and wages. If we’re going to move from one industry to another, and it makes us a poorer nation, than we’re going to fight it,” Beck explained.

Laborers’ Local 582 Business Manager Corey Johnson said his job is to get his members working. He said it’s irrelevant if laborers are building bridges, clean energy plants or fossil fuel plants.

“Right now, the fossil fuels industry is the only industry really making solid investments in energy creation. Unfortunately, fossil fuels are a big part of what America is addicted to right now,” Johnson explained.



Right now, the biggest hurdle is that major corporations are not investing in green energy. To get the transition rolling, change needs to start with the big hitters, in the form of lobbying for industry incentives and investment in clean energy technologies, such as carbon capture utilization and storage. The federal government also needs to push for a national energy policy.

The most manageable hurdles securing funding for upgrading infrastructure and educating the public that renewables are a positive fuel.

Harry Ohde, assistant director, IBEW-NECA Technical Institute was the most optimist panel member. He teaches union members electrical code, print reading, and renewable energy at the IBEW-NECA Technical Institute in Alsip.

“Efficiency on solar panels is rising, and the price is going down. We need to get people educated, and get their blood going — that’s what I do,” he explained.

With an open dialogue, charting a path for economic and environmental sustainability can be achieved and union members can look forward to a sustainable, middle-class income to build a career, instead of just having a job.

Local teachers union provides scholarships to area students

West Suburban Teachers Union 2016 scholarship winners

Scholarship winners Thomson Catrambone, Marlena Roberto, Caleb Vail, Isabella DiPaolo and Noah Banholzer. Photo courtesy of West Suburban Teachers Union

Fox Valley Labor News
staff reports
Thursday, May 5, 2016

WESTMONT — The West Suburban Teachers Union (WSTU) Local 571 recently awarded more than $22,000 in scholarships to outstanding students and teachers. Winning students are the dependents of Local 571 members.

College-bound high school seniors were judged based upon academic excellence, involvement in extracurricular activities, and community service participation. Applications were reviewed and scored by members of the union’s Scholarship Committee and Chair Chris Schulz, a counselor at East Leyden High School in Franklin Park.

West Suburban Teachers Union 2016 scholarship winners

Gene, Stephanie and Tyler, the Phillips family, with Kimberly Vitale and boyfriend Jose. Photo photo courtesy of West Suburban Teachers Union

Six WSTU Mary Wheeler scholarships of $2,500 each were awarded to:

Isabella DiPaolo of Lyons High School. Her mother, Karyl DiPaolo is a teacher at Pietrini Elementary School in Franklin Park District 84.

Plumbing Council Midwest


Marlena Roberto of Riverside Brookfield High School. Her mother is Linda Kuypers-Roberto, a secretary at Central Elementary School in Riverside District 96.

West Suburban Teachers Union 2016 scholarship winners

West Suburban Teachers Union Local 571 President Jane Russell, father Bruce Kelsay with Nicolette Kelsay and Scholarship Committee Chair Chris Schulz. Photo courtesy of West Suburban Teachers Union

Noah Banholzer of Oak Park River Forest High School. His mother is Mary Banholzer, a teacher at Hauser Junior High in Riverside.

Teamster women


Nicolette Kelsay of St. Francis College Prep High School. Her parents, Bruce and Mary Kelsay, are teachers at Addison Trail High School, District 88.
Thomson (Mac) Catrambone of Riverside Brookfield High School. His mother Nancy Catrambone is a secretary at Hollywood Elementary School in Riverside District 96.

West Suburban Teachers Union 2016 scholarship winners

Parents Michael and Louise Serpico with Madison and grandmother, Barbara Serpico. Photo courtesy of West Suburban Teachers Union

Caleb Vail of William Fremd High School. His father, Jeff Vail is a teacher at East Leyden High School in Franklin Park District 212.

The union also awarded one $2,500 Jo Ann Horowitz Scholarship to Madison Serpico, a student at the University of Illinois — Urbana-Champaign. Her grandmother is Barbara Serpico, a retired support staff member in Lyons, District 103. This scholarship is presented each year to a college student who is pursuing a major in education or women’s studies.

West Suburban Teachers Union 2016 scholarship winners

Gene, Stephanie and Tyler Phillips with Dana Lord and her mother, Janet. Photo courtesy of West Suburban Teachers Union

WSTU awarded its newest scholarship in the name of Julie Phillips, the former president of the Franklin Park Council of Local 571. The $2,500 award is presented to a current, licensed educator who is pursuing an additional degree through graduate work.

This year, there were two winners: Kimberly Vitale, a teacher at Pietrini Elementary School in Franklin Park District 84, and Dana Lord, a teacher at Wilkins Junior High School in Indian Springs District 109.

AFL-CIO endorses BCTGM’s boycott of Mexican-made Nabisco products

Check the Label campaign

Campaign encourages Americans to “Check the Label” in support of American jobs by purchasing only those Nabisco products made in America

Fox Valley Labor News
staff reports
Thursday, May 5, 2016

KENSINGTON, Md.– The Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers International Union (BCTGM) – which represents nearly 4,000 members at Mondelēz International, maker of Nabisco snack products – announced the national AFL-CIO has officially endorsed its nationwide consumer boycott of Nabisco snack products made in Mexico.

Arcades at Home


The Check the Label campaign was launched to stop Nabisco/Mondelēz from continuing to outsource jobs, by urging American consumers to reject Mexican-made Nabisco products and, instead, buy those produced in America in support of middle-class American jobs. The AFL-CIO’s endorsement is a watershed moment in BCTGM’s boycott movement, as it adds 12.5 million members in 56 affiliated national and international unions, as well as their families and their local and extended communities across the United States and the globe.

BCTGM International President David B. Durkee, said the AFL-CIO’s backing sends the strongest signal yet that American workers and consumers will not stand idly by while Americans lose their jobs. “BCTGM is proud to have the support of our 12.5 million Brothers and Sisters of the AFL-CIO who share our profound dismay that Nabisco/Mondelēz is asking American workers to give up 60 percent of their wages and benefits – amounting to $46 million per year in perpetuity – or have their jobs shipped to Mexico. Most immediately, we believe that the endorsement lends substantial and sustainable support to our Check the Label campaign, aimed at supporting American jobs by ensuring consumers’ favorite Nabisco products are produced in America before purchasing.”



BCTGM launched the Check the Label campaign after Nabisco/Mondelēz closed numerous U.S. production facilities, costing many hundreds of American jobs, while at the same time expanding production in its facilities in Monterrey and Salinas, Mexico, where pay is so low that the minimum wage is measured by the day, not the hour. BCTGM is sending teams of the laid-off workers around the country, focusing on large urban areas, to enhance support for the boycott and continue to expand its coalition.

The National contract between Mondelēz International and more than 2,000 of its 4,000 workers represented by the BCTGM, expired Feb. 29. BCTGM continues to be resolute in its commitment to securing a quality contract for its members – one that is in the very best interests of all members and their families today and into the future.

International Workers’ Day honored

Haymarket Memorial

The latest May Day plaque (insert) from the World Federation of Trade Unions will soon be placed on the bronze Haymarket Memorial. The announcement was made during the annual May Day festivities in Chicago. Jennifer Rice/staff photographer

Jennifer Rice Managing Editor

By Jennifer Rice
Managing Editor
Thursday, May 5, 2016
Email Jennifer Rice at: jen@foxvalley

CHICAGO — Illinois Labor History Society President Larry Spivack said it best when he described Chicago, and specifically Haymarket Square as the epicenter of international labor.

No one present at the May 1 May Day festivities would call him wrong. Low temperatures and the threat of rain didn’t keep union members or their supporters from celebrating International Workers’ Day.

As is customary, a plaque was unveiled, which will soon be placed on the base of the bronze Haymarket Memorial to symbolize world solidarity in the fight for workers’ rights.

World Federation of Trade Unions (WFTU) Regional Coordinator Kay Tillow said her organization conveys a militant salute to all men and women of the working class and to the 92 million members of WFTU in 126 countries.

World Federation of Trade Unions Regional Coordinator Kay Tillow

World Federation of Trade Unions Regional Coordinator Kay Tillow shows the crowd what the newest plaque to be placed on the Haymarket Memorial will look like. Jennifer Rice/staff photographer

“[Today] is a symbol of internationalism, a symbol of struggle, a symbol of class unity. These are our most powerful tools with which we need to arm ourselves in our struggles for better lives, in our struggles against poverty and wars generated by the capitalist barbarity,” Tillow explained.

She mentioned countries in the Middle East where the WFTU wants to send its internationalist solidarity. “Palestine, Libya, Syria, Lebanon, Iraq Afghanistan, Yemen and all peoples who are suffering imperialist attacks and fight for their right to decide for themselves over their present and future,” she said.

On the heels of Tillow’s remarks, a representative from a Philippines progressive trade union organization — Kilusang Mayo Uno (KMU), which translates to May 1st Movement, discussed how her organization is pushing for an increase in its national minimum wage.

National Alliance for Filipino Concerns Midwest Coordinator Nerissa Allegretti

National Alliance for Filipino Concerns Midwest Coordinator Nerissa Allegretti pledges to stand up for workers everywhere. Jennifer Rice/staff photographer

“Filipino workers face similar challenges up to this day,” explained National Alliance for Filipino Concerns Midwest Coordinator Nerissa Allegretti.

“The spirit of May 1st lives — it lives in every worker that stands up, defies the status quo and participates in collective action to effect change,” she said to cheers.

Women Build Nations conference

Buses of women participating in the last day of the national Women Build Nations conference held in Chicago show their union pride at May Day festivities in Haymarket Square. Jennifer Rice/staff photographer


Members of LiUNA show their solidarity May 1. Jennifer Rice/staff photographer

Laborers’ Local 68 Rep. Deb Conroy fundraiser

Laborers Local 68 fundraiser

Laborers Local 68 in Lombard hosted a fundraiser April 25 at its hall for Rep. Deb Conroy, who is running in the 47th House District. As the incumbent, Conroy is facing Heidi Holan of Glen Ellyn, a staunch Tea Partier who is being funded by Dan Proft, former Republican candidate for Illinois governor. Conroy described her race as an ideological fight. “My opponent is very anti-union, anti-regular schools. She doesn’t reflect the district. My district is a middle-class, working district, which is who I am, so it makes it easy for me,” Conroy explained. Conroy is pictured with, from left, Laborers Local 68 Organizer Bryan Hacker; Laborers Local 68 Vice President Michael Van Wagner; Laborers Local 68 Business Manager Joe Riley; Rep. Deb Conroy; Laborers Local 68 Secretary/Treasurer Mark Riley; Laborers Local 68 Field Representative Sergio Ayala and SMART 265 Business Representative Bob Baier. Jennifer Rice/staff photographer

Student awarded for grades, achievements

The Construction Industry Service Corporation (CISCO) awarded six scholarships

The Construction Industry Service Corporation (CISCO) awarded six scholarships to students April 22 during its annual luncheon event. Scholarship winners include, front row, from left, Samantha Perez (4-year); Rilea Petersen (4-year), and Kaitlin Boers (2-year). Back row, from left, Daniel Garza (continuing education); Kyle Zielinski (4-year), and Diana Martinez (2-year). Photo courtesy of CISCO

Jennifer Rice Managing Editor

By Jennifer Rice
Managing Editor
Thursday, April 28, 2016
Email Jennifer Rice at: jen@foxvalley

SCHAUMBURG — For 12 years, the Construction Industry Service Corporation (CISCO) has been helping the families of building trade union members and employees of union contractors by awarding scholarship for high school seniors planning to attend 4-year and community colleges.

This year, CISCO was able to expand the program and add an another 4-year scholarship. CISCO Executive Director Dan Allen said these students accomplishments are a “tremendous reflection on our young adults and the children of our construction workers and contractors.”

This years winners include Samantha Perez (4-year scholarship), a senior at Downers Grove South High School. Her father Paul is a member of the Chicago Regional Council of Carpenters Local 558. Perez intends to attend North Central College in Naperville and study Actuarial Science.

Rilea Peterson (4-year scholarship) is a student at Richmond-Burton Community High School in Richmond. Her father Shane is a member of the International Union of Operating Engineers Local 150. Peterson will be attending Olivet Nazarene University to study Psychology with minors in Spanish and Dietetics.

Kaitlin Boers (community college scholarship) is graduating from LaMoille Community High School. Her father Brent is a member of the International Union of Operating Engineers Local 150. Boers will be attending Black Hawk College in Moline to study Physical Therapy.

Daniel Garza (continuing education scholarship) is a member of LiUNA Local 4. He currently is attending Indiana University Northwest in Gary, Indiana where he is studying Accounting and Economics.

Kyle Zielinski (4-year scholarship) is graduating from Prospect High School and will attend the University of Wisconsin-Madison to major in Biology/Biochemistry. His father Jim is employed by George Sollitt Construction Co., who is signatory with the Carpenters, Laborers and Operators.

Diana Martinez (community college scholarship) will be graduating from Argo Community High School to attend Saint Xavier University to study Pre-Medicine. Her father Miguel is a member of Carpenters Local 1027.

Scholarships for high school seniors attending a 4-year university are $2,000/year; scholarships for students attending a community college are $1,000/year; scholarships for continuing education are $1,000/year.

Negotiations moving at a snail’s pace

Bolingbrook Park District Board

SEIU Local 73 Field Organizer Rick Loza, standing, addresses Bolingbrook Park District Board members April 21. Nineteen months ago, employees of the building and grounds division voted to join SEIU Local 73. Today, members still don’t have a contract. With negotiations underway, several areas of the contract have been reached, but both sides remain apart when it comes to wages for staff. In a symbolic gesture, Loza presented each board member with a can of green beans — representative of the actual value of raises the board offered its employees. Jennifer Rice/staff photographer

Jennifer Rice Managing Editor

By Jennifer Rice
Managing Editor
Thursday, April 28, 2016
Email Jennifer Rice at: jen@foxvalley

BOLINGBROOK — Contract negotiations between the Bolingbrook Park District and employees of the Bolingbrook Park District Building and Grounds Division appear to be stuck on wages.

Though no specific dollar amounts or actual wages were used for reference, field organizer Rick Loza with SEIU Local 73 — the union representing the members, presented board members with a can of green beans — representative of the actual value of raises the board is offering. “If you do the math,” he told the board, “you can see we are not exaggerating.”

Both sides are meeting this week, and Loza asked the board to discuss an offer at that meeting that members could truly accept. “Right now, our members are getting angrier, and angrier after every single session. They are not happy.”

Board President Denise Allen countered and accused the union of regressive bargaining, a tactic that is “slowing things down.” At a February bargaining session, Allen said the union presented a wage proposal higher than its previous proposal. “They are going backwards by raising their demands,” she said. Allen went on to call the union wage proposals “excessive.”

In negotiations, Allen said, the union has asked for retroactive pay through January 2015, and a percentage increase over the life of the 3-year contract. Without providing actual dollar amounts, or an estimate of what increased wages would cost the district, Allen indicated a potential increase of 21 percent on average for full-time staff, and 27 percent increase on average for part-time staff.

“This is why the park district will not just pay what the union is asking for,” she added.

Bolingbrook Park District employee Alice Murray cautioned the board to be careful using percentages not in relation to actual wages. “When you make a very low hourly wage, and you’re given a percentage of a wage increase, it’s still a very low wage,” Murray explained.

Bolingbrook resident and Will County Board member Jackie Traynere spoke on behalf of the employees of SEIU Local 73. For the past 12 years, Traynere said county-wide elected officials and Will County board members have not taken a raise — unlike various members of the Bolingbrook Park District.

Will County Board board member Jacqueline Traynere

Will County Board board member Jacqueline Traynere offers her support for the workers. She said she appreciates how important it is to keep the park grounds nice and safe for the community — and she also understands a fair, living wage is important to the people who are employed by the park district. Jennifer Rice/staff photographer

“I have to believe, that if you can afford those wages for the supervisors, and managers, and directors, you can find somewhere in the budget, some small amount to increase the wages for these employees. I feel what was offered was embarrassing,” she told the board.

During the meeting, a newly hired, full-time staff member was introduced to board members. Commissioner Jerry Hix welcomed him by saying the park district is a challenging operation. He quashed any anxiety the new employee may have had by saying, “you’ve got a lot of talented people around you.”

A rally is being planned for the employees May 5, with details to follow.

McCormick Place is taking off

McCormick Place

McCormick Place is undergoing some big and exciting changes, a new brand, new logo, and new name — McCormick Square. And have you heard about this museum that is looking to use space at McCormick Place? A little place called the Lucas museum. Photo courtesy of CISCO

Jennifer Rice Managing Editor

By Jennifer Rice
Managing Editor
Thursday, April 28, 2016
Email Jennifer Rice at: jen@foxvalley

SCHAUMBURG — As a major contributor, not to the Chicago economy, but to the region and the entire state, McCormick Place is not slowing down anytime soon.

“We’re in a great place to win moving forward because of the momentum in the surrounding neighborhoods, as well as the bigger plans, that are underway today,” said Metropolitan Pier and Exposition Authority (MPEA) Chief Executive Officer Lori Healy during the April 22 Construction Industry Service Corporation (CISCO) annual luncheon event.

Lucas Museum of Narrative Art

An artist rendering of the yet unbuilt Lucas Museum of Narrative Art, bottom photo, could find its home on the McCormick Campus, which is a very preliminary proposal. Rendering via Lucas Museum of Narrative Art website

Some of those ‘bigger plans’ revolve around the newly released news the Lucas Museum of Narrative Art could build on the campus. “I want to be clear,” Healy said, “this is a very preliminary proposal,” but exciting none the less.

What she can talk about is their new brand, new logo, and new neighborhood name — McCormick Square.

McCormick Place

McCormick Place has grown to become the premier convention center in North America. Photo courtesy of McCormick Place

“At MPEA, we’re officially saying goodbye to McPier, and changing it over to McSquare,” she stressed.

What does it all mean for Chicago? “It means more jobs, more tax revenues, more visitors, and an enhanced, international profile, which continues to be so important as we continue to attract international visitors. We need to evolve to stay successful,” Healy explained.

The McCormick Campus has a lot going on. There is a yet-to-be named event center to being constructed, the result of a public private partnership with DePaul University, scheduled to open in September 2017. Also being constructed is Chicago’s only Marriott Marquis Hotel with 1,206 rooms, 90,000 square feet of meeting space, and a roof top bar on the 33rd floor.

The newly expanded the Hyatt Regency McCormick Place is directly connected to the convention center.

“We provide permanent jobs for almost 3,000 people on our campus. When we’re done with the first phase of our construction project, we’re going to be up to 3,500 permanent jobs on our campus,” she added.

Battle lines harden as Verizon strike continues


Fox Valley Labor News
staff reports
Thursday, April 21, 2016

NEW YORK — More than 40,000 men and women went on strike April 13 against Verizon — 30,000 from the CWA and nearly 10,000 members of the IBEW.

“No one ever wants to go on strike — it’s always the last resort,” said International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers President Lonnie R. Stephenson. “But Verizon’s refusal to bargain in good faith with employees and its insistence on gutting job security, retirement security and outsourcing good American jobs overseas gives us no choice.”

Communication Workers of America members march on strike against Verizon in New York

Communication Workers of America members march on strike against Verizon in New York to preserve decent wages, benefits and a dignified retirement. Photo courtesy of Communication Workers of America

Union negotiators met with Verizon officials April 15, but talks broke up less than 30 minutes later when company officials increased concession demands.

“We did not want things to deteriorate to this point, and we hoped Verizon would come to their senses quickly when it did. Clearly they are not ready to accept that the men and women that built this very profitable company know their value,” said Telecommunications and Broadcast Director Martha Pultar.

Negotiations on a contract began last June. At the heart of the conflict is Verizon’s demand the installation and repair technicians, call center operators and clerical workers accept draconian cuts to employee pensions, health care, job security and benefits for workers injured on the job.

Verizon also is demanding workers accept a policy that could transfer service technicians out of their service areas on only a few days’ notice for two months or more.

“If Verizon tried to send me away for weeks or even months at a time, I’d have to look for another job,” said Justin Draper, a member of Cranston, R.I., Local 2323 and a single father of two. “I’ve given 18 years to this company, but being away from my kids just simply isn’t an option for my family.”

Verizon has posted profits of $1.8 billion per month so far this year, and $39 billion over the last three years. Nevertheless, it is asking for concessions by not just workers, but also retirees. Verizon’s proposed raising retiree health care costs by hundreds of dollars.

Phyllis Moniz was a Verizon service representative for 34 years before she retired in 2010.

“I was diagnosed with lung cancer in 2013, and I spend four weeks at a time on chemotherapy. My health care costs are already huge, and now they want to add more on top of that? I’m retired. I don’t know how I’d be able to do it,” Moniz said from her home in Portsmouth, Rhode Island. “If the company was broke, it would be different, but they’re raking in billions of dollars and trying to squeeze every last dime out of the people who built this company.”

Across the region, striking workers watched nonunion and management replacement workers heading to do their jobs, but remained peaceful.

Elected officials, allies from other unions and members of the public joined the strikers in New York City, Philadelphia, and Rhode Island.

Both former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Sen. Bernie Sanders joined picket lines April 13. During the April 14 democratic candidate’s debate, Sanders called on Verizon’s CEO to return to the negotiating table.

“This is a perfect example of the kind of corporate greed that is destroying the middle class of this country,” Sanders said. “There are some great businesses. Verizon happens to not be one of them.”

International President Lonnie R. Stephenson has announced that the IBEW Unity Fund will provide support for striking workers.

Verizon strikebreakers have been thrown out of three New York City hotels

Verizon strikebreakers have been thrown out of three New York City hotels, thanks to direct action by striking CWA members, solidarity from the hotel workers’ union and Teamsters Local 814. When CWA members found out Verizon was dispatching strikebreakers out of midtown hotels, the strikers got busy. They mounted massive picket lines in front of the Sheraton, Renaissance and Westin hotels in Manhattan’s midtown. Scabby the Rat joined strikers on the picket line. The New York Hotel Trades Council also backed the strikers and promised to honor their picket lines. Photo courtesy of Communication Workers of America