Picketers to welcome radio to Chicago


Be ready to cross picket lines if you’re going to the Radio Show at the Hyatt Regency Chicago. Union workers went on strike Thursday (9/8) after working without a contract for two years. The strike is expected to last only a week, but that will include the beginning of the Radio Show.

Thousands of Hyatt workers hit the picket lines in Chicago, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Honolulu. They are protesting not only the lack of a contract at their unionized hotels, but also accuse Hyatt of unfair treatment of workers at other hotels in the chain who have tried to unionize.

For its part, Hyatt management complains that the union, Unite Here, has signed deals with other hotel chains that are virtually identical to the offer that Hyatt has on the table – but the union is primarily focused on wanting to win recognition at nonunion Hyatt hotels in other cities.

What does this mean for radio people heading to the annual gathering this week?

“NAB and RAB are working closely with the Hyatt Regency Chicago to minimize any disruptions should the issue not be resolved by the time the Radio Show begins next week. Hyatt management has provided assurances that contingency plans are in place should the hotel require alternative staffing. We’re confident this year’s Radio Show will be a first class event and a great success,” said a joint statement issued Friday (9/9) by RAB and NAB.

RBR-TVBR observation: The scuttlebutt for years had been that NAB wouldn’t take the Radio Show back to Chicago because the city’s convention center had such onerous union rules that exhibitors were unable to do even the most simple things without having to pay to have a union worker on hand. With the Radio Show no longer big enough to require the convention center, even when combined with RAB, the move to a Chicago hotel has now led to another problem with unions.

To all that have plans attending and vendors on the floor – ‘a strike especially in Chicago’ – Good Luck!