Chicago hotel workers end strike _ after 10 years

CHICAGO (AP) — Striking hotel workers who became a familiar sight on Chicago’s famed Michigan Avenue as they picketed — for 10 years — are ending one of the longest strikes in American history.

Their union has offered “unconditionally” to halt the strike, which began at the Congress Plaza Hotel in June 2003 over disputes involving wage cuts and other issues. A hotel attorney says that means if the workers do return to work, they would do so under terms of the contract that expired a year before the strike began, including wages that the union argues are now half the city’s standard.

The strike ranks among the longest in the U.S., lasting about four years less than a strike in California at the Diamond Walnut Growers plant in Stockton that’s believed by experts to be the longest in American history. But a Cornell University labor relations professor says the Chicago strike may rank as the country’s longest among hotel workers.

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