While Chicago Department of Aviation Commissioner Ginger Evans was speaking at the City Club of Chicago Monday, a group of O'Hare International Airport workers protested outside to make their voices heard.
Participating in the protest were security officers, wheelchair attendants and other O'Hare service workers, as well as their allies at SEIU* Local 1. The workers, with the national Airport Workers United campaign, have concerns about their job training, benefits and wages.
"I have worked as an O'Hare security officer for more than 20 years, and I have nothing to show for it," said Universal Security officer Sadaf Subijiano. "No sick days. No vacation days. No health care. Commissioner Evans needs to do the right thing by raising standards at O'Hare and making airport jobs good jobs."
As Progress Illinois has reported, a group of O'Hare security officers employed by Universal Security went on a one-day "unfair labor practice" strike in November to protest against alleged retaliation by their employer for speaking out about work conditions and organizing.
Union officials say O'Hare service workers requested to meet with Evans in October to discuss their concerns, but claim to have not heard back.
"Low wages at O'Hare lead to astronomical turnover rates, making the airport less safe for both workers and the public," reads a media release from the union. "Furthermore, training deficiencies leave O'Hare workers unprepared in case of an emergency. This action will show Evans that issues at O'Hare can no longer be swept under rug."
*The SEIU Illinois Council sponsors this website.