NBC Sports

Concessions workers at United Center strike ahead of Big Ten Tournament

NBC Sports

Hundreds of concessions workers at the United Center walked off the job Sunday, calling for higher wages and better benefits from their employer.

The one-day walkout took place just days before the arena is slated to host the Big Ten Tournament. Workers started walking the picket line hours before the scheduled Bulls' game, which got underway at 2:30 p.m. Unite Here Local 1 represents hundreds of workers at the facility who say the company they work for, Compass/Levy, isn't negotiating in good faith.

"I work in a kitchen as a cook, its a very laborious job," said worker Geri Bleavingds. "...Long hours and you're susceptible to slipping, many accidents. You really need health care in full effect."

Some employees say they have worked at the company for 30 years and the owners aren't protecting them, so they can be safe on the job or allowing them to retire with good benefits.

"Up until now, people have been fighting to get health care, good health care, that covers everyone and including to get a pension and make these good jobs. The company has not agreed to date," Karen Kent, president of Unite Here Local 1, told NBC 5 Sunday afternoon.

Compass-Levy responded to the one-day strike, saying in part that it has introduced a new pension plan, wage increases and a new health care plan.

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