O’Hare Airport Workers to Strike After Thanksgiving Holiday

Among the workers involved in the planned strike are baggage handlers, cabin cleaners and janitors

Workers at Chicago's O'Hare International Airport will strike the Tuesday after Thanksgiving, union members announced Monday. 

The Nov. 29 strike will not impact the bulk of Thanksgiving holiday air travelers. 

"O'Hare Airport workers often can't afford a proper Thanksgiving dinner and know what it's like to miss Thanksgiving with our families," said baggage handler Raquel Brito. "However, we respect families traveling to be together and that is why we’re holding off our strike until after the Thanksgiving holiday."

Service Employees International Union Local 1 officials say about 500 workers committed to a strike after a vote last week. The workers are trying to organize with the union's help. They work mainly for private contractors at the airport and include baggage handlers, cabin cleaners, janitors, and wheelchair attendants.

The workers are seeking union rights and a $15 per hour wage.

"These workers care about their passengers, it was never their intent to disrupt [Thanksgiving] from them," said Izabela Miltkoivkovich, communications director for Service Employees International Union Local 1. "They really want to have the public support them and stand with them in this fight for a better future."

It wasn't immediately clear how such a strike would affect operations at O'Hare, which is one of the nation's busiest airports.

"The Chicago Department of Aviation has been in discussions with the airlines, and does not anticipate any disruption in service at Chicago’s airports due to this development," the department said in a statement. "The CDA remains committed to maintaining a work environment that is safe and healthy for employees and expects the same commitment from its contractors and partners."

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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