AMITA Health and UNITE HERE HEALTH, a labor-management trust fund, have joined forces to open a health and pharmacy center available to all members of UNITE HERE, Local 1, Chicago’s hospitality workers union.
The center officially opened July 16 with a ribbon-cutting event attended by representatives from both organizations as well as community leaders, including the Cardinal Blase Cupich, Archbishop of Chicago.
The new health facility will exclusively serve members of UNITE HERE, Local 1. The majority of those served by the health center will be immigrants, women and people of color who are employed throughout Chicago’s booming hospitality industry as housekeepers, bartenders, bellmen, cooks and servers.
“We are proud to partner with UNITE HERE in this one-of-a-kind clinic and excited about caring for hospitality workers across Chicagoland to ensure the health and wellness of this important workforce,” said Beth Tze, Senior Vice President and CEO Physician Enterprise, AMITA Health.
“Our health fund is proud to provide great value for our participating employers and high-quality healthcare for our hard-working hospitality employees,” said Arnie Karr, Secretary of the Board of UNITE HERE HEALTH.
Nearly 10,000 participants in the UNITE HERE HEALTH Chicago plans can access free medical care and prescriptions at the new health center, which is opening on the heels of a study by the New York University School of Medicine that found that Chicago has the largest life expectancy gap between neighborhoods of any U.S. city. The study found that Streeterville residents can expect to live to 90, while the life expectancy for residents of Englewood is 60.
“Having a health center especially for us feels fantastic,” said Jovan Franklin, a housekeeper at the Palmer House Hilton who helped cut the ribbon at the health center. “I know I will get the quality care that I need to be at my best, to care for my children and give back to my community.”
The event included a tour of the new facility, which is located at the same site as the local union’s offices.