United Center concession workers threaten strike during Big Ten Tournament
CHICAGO (CBS) -- Preparations are underway as the United Center hosts the Big Ten men's basketball tournament starting Wednesday afternoon, but concession workers could walk off the job as they continue to fight for better wages.
United Center concession workers also staged a one-day strike on Sunday, as the Bulls hosted the Pacers.
"We've been negotiating our contract for about three years now, and we're demanding better health insurance, better wages, a pension, and it seems like the company is just not taking us seriously," United Center worker Jamie O'Neill said on Sunday.
UNITE HERE Local 1, the union representing those workers, held another bargaining session Tuesday night with representatives for Chicago-based Levy Restaurants, and its parent company, Charlotte-based Compass Group North America, but have yet to reach an agreement.
The two sides are due to continue contract talks on Saturday, but the union said "a strike could begin at any moment, including during the Big Ten Tournament.
Concessions workers say they want better health insurance, better wages, and pension benefits.
Levy Restaurants said they have now had 21 bargaining sessions with the concession workers, and at their latest bargaining sessions, proposed additional funding to lower the number of hours workers need to qualify for year-round health insurance.
The company said they are planning for food and beverage service at the United Center to continue as normal, but in the event of a strike, menus will be adjusted to focus on fan favorites and top-selling items.
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