Chicago, Illinois – More than 500 O’Hare International Airport non-unionized workers will strike on Tuesday, November 29, the group said on Monday.
About 500 workers committed to a strike after a vote Thursday. The workers involved have been trying to organize with the union’s help. They work mainly for private contractors at the airport.
The group planning to strike includes O’Hare baggage handlers, cabin cleaners, janitors, and wheelchair attendants that serve United and American Airlines. Although they are not unionized, they have the support of the Service Employees International Union. They decided to hold their strike after Thanksgiving weekend to allow people to travel and be with their families.
“We respect families traveling to be together, and that is why we’re holding off our strike until after the Thanksgiving holiday,” Raquel Brito said on behalf of the group.
The workers are seeking union rights and a $15 per hour wage. The Fight for $15 asserted Monday that after the election of Donald Trump to the White House it “won’t back down” from its activism in the face of an incoming administration it believes “threatens an extremist agenda to move the country to the right.”
The campaign announced protests at 20 airports and strikes and acts of mass civil disobedience at McDonald’s restaurants in 340 cities, including in Chicago and its suburbs. It said it expects “tens of thousands” of people to participate.
Airport and fast-food workers are expected to be joined on picket lines by child care workers, home care workers and graduate assistants, who are among the estimated 64 million U.S. workers who earn less than $15 an hour.
O’Hare is the only airport where workers are planning to walk off the job.
SEIU Local 1 President Tom Balanoff says they don’t expect to shut down the airport but will create a disruption. More than a million passengers are expected to travel through Chicago’s O’Hare airport during the holiday weekend.
ABC 7 reported on March 31, 2016 that Union workers had walked off the job then also for $15.00 pay. At that time O’Hare was one of nine airports across the country affected by the 24-hour strike.