By Mugambi Mutegi/Chicago Tribune reporter

April 23, 2013

Six hundred unionized workers at the Drake, Palmer House, Chicago Hilton and Towers and the Hilton O’Hare will see their compensation increase by a total of $4.81 over the course of five years beginning September. 

The increase is part of a deal signed Tuesday between Hilton Hotels and workers union Unite Here, several months before the existing contract expired.

According to the union, workers will be able to choose what portion of the raise goes to wages and how much to benefits, a shift from the current scenario of a predetermined ratio. 

Unionized employees who are members of Local 1 and Local 450 have ratified new five-year contracts four months before the Aug. 31, 2013, expiration of the current pacts. 

“Over the lifetime of the contract, the cumulative economic increases are $4.81,” said Carly Karmel, Local 1 spokeswoman.  “What is significant about this is that it puts the decision in the hands of the worker to decide what amount per year is allocated to wages and benefits.”

Carly said Chicago housekeepers are currently paid $16.40 an hour.

Unionized workers, Carly added, get health care that is free for individuals and families pay $30 per month.

Hilton Hotel, while opting not to confirm the contract specifics, said it was “pleased” that an agreement had been reached.

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