The work stoppage at Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport will deliberately miss the busy Thanksgiving travel week, a tactic aimed at bolstering public support, says spokeswoman for the Service Employees International Union (SEIU).
The workers, who include airplane cabin cleaners, baggage handlers, janitors and wheelchair attendants, want to bring awareness to their fight to earn $15 an hour, improve what they describe as unsafe work conditions, and obtain union rights. At present, the workers are employed by subcontractors hired by the airlines. Some of the workers planning to strike earn the minimum wage, which is $8.25 an hour in Illinois. Although the workers are not in a union, Local 1 is in the process of organizing them.