Ritz-Chicago Faces Scrutiny for Hiring Union-Busting Consultants

Chicago’s historic Ritz-Carlton hotel, Ritz-Chicago, is facing criticism for hiring outside consultants to counter unionization efforts by its staff. The hotel enlisted Reliant Labor Consultants, a firm specializing in derailing employee unionization drives.

Reliant’s approach, while framed as improved communication and leadership development, raises concerns. The company’s core service revolves around countering unionization efforts. Their tactics include in-person meetings designed to pressure employees into voting against forming a union. Reliant also focuses on discouraging NLRB elections altogether, potentially hindering employees’ legal right to organize. While they emphasize improved communication, the real goal appears to be deterring unionization rather than addressing the root of employee concerns that might be driving the desire to organize in the first place.

Adding to the controversy are the significant costs associated with Reliant’s services. Reliant’s union-busting fees reach $3,500 per day, per consultant, with additional travel expenses. Even travel days where consultants aren’t actively working incur a 50% daily rate charge.

Ritz-Chicago’s decision to hire union-busting consultants raises questions about the hotel’s commitment to fair labor practices and its willingness to address employee concerns directly.

LaborLab filed a complaint with the U.S. Department of Labor documenting that Reliant failed to make legally required disclosures about their services to Ritz-Chicago employees for 36 days. This delay creates an unfair and potentially illegal advantage for Reliant and Ritz-Chicago by hindering the union’s ability to communicate effectively with employees about their right to organize. LaborLab is urging the Department of Labor to investigate these potential violations.