The 21st Show

Chicago Hotel Workers On Strike; Allergy Researchers Make Progress; After-School Programs


Hyatt Regency McCormick Place, one of the hotels where workers are striking. Wikimedia Commons

On the 21st: In Chicago, workers from 26 hotels have been striking since Friday. Also, researchers from Northwestern and University of Chicago discuss the prevalence of food allergies and what they're doing to fight it. And, we talk about options parents have when it comes to after-school programs for kids.

Since Friday, Sept. 8, thousands of hotel workers of all kinds – housekeepers, cooks, doormen and more – have been on strike at 26 different hotels in Chicago. The union contract that represents these picketers expired on Aug. 31. And according to the union that represents them, this is the biggest coordinated hotel worker strike in Chicago history.

Stephanie Fortado, a lecturer at the School of Labor and Employment Relations at the University of Illinois, joined us at the studio.

And Alexia Elejalde-Ruiz who’s been covering the strike for the Chicago Tribune who says that negotiations are scheduled to continue through September.


"They have to decide between health care and other living costs...this is a major issue, not just in Chicago, but across the country." - @alexiaer

— The 21st (@21stshow) September 12, 2018

And –

Do you have a food allergy? Or maybe you have a child that does? Then maybe you know the anxiety that comes with it. At the 21st today, we discussed the constant worry that you or your loved one may take one wrong bite.

The number of food allergy sufferers has been steadily on the rise in recent years. According to a new analysis of private insurance claims, life-threatening allergic reactions to foods have increased by five times over the last decade. But, there is hope in terms of understanding why that is and developing solutions to combat that, and that hope is coming out of Illinois.

Lauren Williamson, a senior editor for the Chicago Magazine, recently investigated this for their September issue, and she joined us today.

We also discussed the prevalence of food allergies with Dr. Ruchi Gupta, professor of pediatrics at Lurie Children’s Hospital and Northwestern Medicine and author of ‘The Food Allergy Experience.’

And Cathryn Nagler who is a food allergy researcher and professor at the University of Chicago also joined us on the line.

Do you or a loved one suffer from food allergies? Imagine you could suffer less. A lot of research is happening right here in Illinois.

More from @williamsonlm @ChicagoMag @luriechildrens @NUFeinbergMed@CathyNagler @UChicago @UChiResearch

— The 21st (@21stshow) September 12, 2018

Plus –

By now the first few weeks of school have gotten underway everywhere in the state. During those hours, parents go to work knowing for the most part that their kids will be taken care of.

But what about after school? Especially, if parents are working, have young children, and maybe can’t afford to pay for expensive programs that promote learning after school is out for the day?

Secretary of State Jesse White’s office recently awarded more than half a million dollars to local libraries to help address this problem. Dozens of libraries received these grants that were given specifically to libraries that serve low-income kids and families.

We wanted to learn about one of these libraries – and, get a sense of what after-school options are out there for kids and families in Illinois.

Robert Edwards is assistant city librarian for the Decatur Public Library. He joined us today from our partner station, NPR Illinois, in Springfield.

William Legge also joined us, he is the executive director of the Boys and Girls Club of Central Illinois.

"We're not just a place for parents to drop their kids off...we have a lot of academic programs that are really trying to make an impact." - on their fee for after school programs.

"But we never let inability to pay be a barrier." William Legge of BGCA_Clubs of Central Illinois

— The 21st (@21stshow) September 12, 2018

Story source: WILL