Hotel chains are rolling out super-thick mattresses, mountains of new pillows, extra sheets and hefty duvet covers in competition to create the most restful sleep experience. Even budget chains are joining the fray, upgrading rooms with a rainbow of soaps, shampoos, teas and specialty coffees.

But the effects of this pillow fight have strained the nerves and backs of one group: the housekeepers who restore the rooms to pristine condition every day.

Hotel workers and union representatives say employees are running ragged trying to clean the same number of hotel rooms as the list of tasks becomes longer. They say injuries are piling up, too, as they have to handle heavier mattresses and bedding.

The union that represents housekeepers cited the amenities war as a primary justification for a new state law that guarantees two, 15-minute paid breaks for housekeepers in Cook County hotels.

The law took effect last week, but on Thursday a judge issued a temporary restraining order putting it on hold. Hotel-industry officials want to scuttle the law, arguing the rest breaks will hurt productivity and profits and ultimately jeopardize the comfort customers are starting to expect.

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