Chicago's former UNITE union members are breathing a bit easier following a decision by a federal judge in New York that will allow them to keep their historic union hall for the time being.
The judge denied the leadership of HERE from seizing control of the union hall and other assets following the recent dissolution of the two unions' merger.
The union hall at 333 S. Ashland Ave. was built with the dues money of generations of garment workers, according to Chris Mahin, a spokesman for the Workers United union that was among the joint boards that recently split from UNITE HERE.
“These buildings have belonged to us for decades. Wilhelm knows this property isn’t his," Katie Jordan, past president of Local 5 of the Amalgamated Clothing and Textile Workers Union, said in a statement. She was referring to John Wilhelm, the president of the hospitality division of UNITE HERE.
Many of the UNITE HERE locals are part of the Chicago Midwest Joint Board, which was among the organizations that voted to secede from UNITE HERE recently following their 2004 merger. The case, Gillis v. Wilhelm, which seeks to make the split official, continues.
Staff Writer Fernando Diaz covers labor and unions for the Daily News. He can be reached at 773.362.5002, ext. 14, or fernando [at] chitowndailynews [dot] org.