Airport workers in Chicago and several other major cities are stepping up their fight for $15 an hour and union rights on Monday with a "large-scale" act of "national civil disobedience."
The workers are protesting on Martin Luther King Jr. Day "to honor Dr. King's legacy by taking a stand for justice and equality" at U.S. airports, according to SEIU*. Protests as part of the SEIU-backed Airport Workers United campaign are planned in Boston, Chicago, Miami, Newark, New York City, Philadelphia, Portland, Seattle and Washington, D.C.
In Chicago, O'Hare International Airport baggage handlers, security officers, passenger service workers and their supporters, including Chicago Ald. Carlos Ramirez-Rosa (35th), planned to rally outside United Airlines' downtown headquarters this morning before participating in an unspecified act of civil disobedience.
"Contracted airport workers and their allies will be risking arrest as part of their commitment to do whatever it takes to win at least $15 and union rights for every airport worker," reads a news release from SEIU. "Despite helping to generate $8 billion dollars in profits for the aviation industry, contracted airport workers are still paid so little that they can't make ends meet, forcing many of them to rely on public assistance for their basic needs in spite of working full-time jobs."
Check back with Progress Illinois as this story develops.
UPDATE (3:47 p.m.): More than a dozen people were arrested at today's protest after blocking traffic outside United Airlines' headquarters, located in the Willis Tower, according to the Chicago Tribune. Chicago Ald. Carlos Ramirez-Rosa did not attend the event due to an illness, a union official told the newspaper.
UPDATE (4:04 p.m.): A total of 15 people were arrested during this morning's act of civil disobedience, an SEIU Local 1 spokeswoman told Progress Illinois.
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