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Airport workers to protest at O’Hare

While airport concessions are undergoing redevelopment, an ordinance extending job and wage protections to concessions workers has been bottled up in a City Council committee for six months – and airport will workers will stage a protest at O’Hare Thursday to express their frustration.

Hundreds of airport workers will convene at 9:45 a.m. on Thursday, May 10, at the departure area of Chicago O’Hare Terminal 1, according to UNITE-HERE Local 1, which represents concessions workers.

It’s the first labor action at the airport in recent memory, according to a union spokesperson.

The union says the jobs and wages of  2,400 concessions workers at O’Hare and Midway are threatened by the redevelopment. It’s backing the Stable Jobs, Stable Airports Ordinance, introduced by Ald. Jason Ervin with 31 cosponsors last October.

The ordinance would end a loophoole for airport contractors in the 1998 living wage ordinance, and would require that new contractors retain incumbent workers for a probationary period.  It would also ban work stoppages and picketing.

The ordinance would boost pay for about two-thirds of the workers to $11.18 an hour – an average of 22 percent or $4,000 a year, according to In These Times.

Other cities have similar measures, but Ervin’s ordinance is stuck in the Workforce Development and Audit Committee, chaired by Mayor Emanuel’s floor leader, Ald. Patrick O’Connor.  The Department of Aviation opposes the measure, according to Progress Illinois.

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Category: labor

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