Hundreds Of O’Hare Airport Workers Vote To Strike Just In Time For Thanksgiving

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Planning on flying into, out of, or through Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport for the Thanksgiving holiday? You should be prepared for some disruptions in travel, after hundreds of airport workers voted to go on strike over wages.

Officials with Service Employees International Union Local 1 — representing workers like baggage handlers, cabin cleaners, janitors, and wheelchair attendants — said 500 people have committed to strike, the Chicago Sun-Times reports. The workers, who are mostly hired by private contractors, are seeking a $15/hour wage.

A union spokeswoman said the strike “will definitely take place in the coming days,” without specifying which day it will begin. Even so, the point of the strike isn’t to force a standstill in airport operations.

“They don’t expect to shut the airport down,” SEIU Local 1 President Tom Balanoff told the Sun-Times. “That’s not what they’re trying to do. Oh, there will be disruption,” he adds.

That being said, the Chicago Department of Aviation said it is “committed to ongoing dialogue with all parties” and doesn’t expect to see any disruption to service during the holidays.

O’Hare Airport low-wage workers threaten holiday-season strike [Chicago Sun-Times]