CHICAGO — Negotiations resumed Tuesday afternoon between United Center concessions workers union Unite Here Local 1 and sports concession mega-business Levy Restaurants.
More than 600 United Center food servers, dish washers, bartenders and cooks walked off the job and formed picket lines in front of the United Center on Sunday and as time goes on and a deal isn’t struck, stakes become higher and tensions continue to rise.
Beginning tomorrow, the United Center is set to host the Big Ten Men’s Basketball Tournament, and those 600 concessions workers are threatening to go on strike for better pay, health insurance and pension benefits.
“If talks do not move forward,” Unite Here Local 1 Representatives said, “Compass/Levy employees at the United Center are prepared to take action at any moment including, but not limited to, a strike.”
According to their company website, Levy Restaurants provides sports catering to nearly 200 sports stadiums, arenas and entertainment venues around the country.
Levy Restaurants said in a statement made last month that if a strike was called, they have a plan in place “to ensure the fan experience is not interrupted.”
Levy Restaurants has also released a statement outlining the offers and concessions they said they have made to Unite Here Local 1, who has not brought the latest offer to a membership vote. The full statement can be read at the bottom of this article.
Basketball fans who spoke to WGN outside the United Center still chose to support food and beverage workers who are fighting for better pay and benefits.
“If they feel like they’re not getting paid what they deserve, let them go on strike,” said Rose Fernandez.
“I’ve always been in the union,” said Melvin Jackson. “So, I support what the union does to make peoples lives better.”
The Big Ten Men’s Basketball Tournament begins Wednesday at 5:30 pm CST when no. 12-seeded Ohio State tips off against no. 13-seeded Wisconsin and will conclude with the Big Ten Title game on Sunday at 2:30 p.m. CST.