United Center food workers reach agreement with Levy, avoid strike


A union representing food service workers at the United Center has reached a tentative agreement with Levy Restaurants to avoid a potential strike, with the full union membership to vote on the pact in coming days.

A spokesperson for Levy confirmed that a marathon bargaining session Saturday had resulted in a deal between the two sides, meaning that food service at the Big Ten men's basketball tournament and coming events at the United Center will continue as planned.

Details of the pact have not yet been disclosed.

"The most recent bargaining session concluded with UNITE HERE Local 1, the bargaining committee and Levy reaching a tentative agreement for employees at the United Center, avoiding a potential strike during upcoming events," a spokesperson said in a statement.

UNITE HERE Local 1 represents nearly 700 employees at the arena. The union had sought more affordable healthcare, pension funding, better wages and benefits.

The union authorized a one-day strike earlier this month, and had indicated that another stoppage could occur during the Big Ten tournament at the arena this week.

Negotiations continued and workers stayed on the job however, and after a long-running bargaining session that went well into the night Saturday and into Sunday morning, a tentative agreement has been reached.

The union’s members include food servers, bartenders, suite attendants, cooks and dishwashers, according to a press release.

The employees are managed by Levy Restaurants.

A sticking point in negotiations had been a health care plan, which Levy had argued would cause it to make payments to provide care to union members who weren't employed at the arena.


UNITE HERE’s union not only represents United Center workers, but also an additional 16,000-plus members in various industries in the city.