CHICAGO - About 500 workers at O’Hare International Airport in Chicago announced they’ll be going on strike – but don’t worry, it will be after the Thanksgiving holiday. The strike is scheduled for November 29th, the Tuesday after Thanksgiving.
Service Employees International Union Local 1, a labor union, made the announcement on Monday morning, saying the workers want the public's support and wouldn't want to mess up anyone's holiday plans.
According to University of Denver Professor, Cindi Fukami, the timing of the walkout is a very common tactic. Fukami says with airline union workers, they typically end their contracts before a major holiday because they have more bargaining power, but since these workers aren’t part of the union, they need the support.
Fukami says “these are not employees of an airline, these are not even employees of the city…these are people who do the wheel chairs, and do the cleaning out of the airplane cabin, and if the airline wishes to make use of this activity… they’re not public employees, they work for subcontractors at O’Hare airport.”
“I’m guessing they pulled back to the Tuesday after Thanksgiving, because they don’t want the public irritated with them or upsetting a busy travel weekend, and what they really want is support for the minimum wage movement going up to fifteen dollars.”
The workers don’t belong to a union, but are being supported by Service Employees International Union Local 1, they’re pushing for union rights and a $15 per hour wage. At this point, it's too early to tell how this will affect operations at O'Hare International Airport.
Professor Fukami says the workers are trying to make a point. She says it's primarily symbolic and they're getting into the issue of how does the general public feel about minimum wage and the rights of workers.
This protest is just one of many expected on November 29th. According to organizers of the planned 'Day of Disruption, the O'Hare protests are only part of a bigger push for a $15 hourly wage and union rights. Organizers say the protests on November 29th mark the fourth anniversary of the first protests at McDonald's restaurants in New York. Organizers say protests are planned at fast food spots in more than 340 cities, and we may see protests at other airports as well.
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