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500 Chicago O'Hare airport workers to strike for union rights, $15 an hour

By
Andrew V. Pestano
About 500 employees of the Chicago O'Hare International Airport, one of the busiest airports in the United States, will strike on November 29 to gain public support in efforts to achieve union rights and a $15 an hour minimum hourly wage. Critical employees such as air traffic controllers will not join the strike. File Photo by Brian Kersey/UPI
About 500 employees of the Chicago O'Hare International Airport, one of the busiest airports in the United States, will strike on November 29 to gain public support in efforts to achieve union rights and a $15 an hour minimum hourly wage. Critical employees such as air traffic controllers will not join the strike. File Photo by Brian Kersey/UPI | License Photo

CHICAGO, Nov. 21 (UPI) -- About 500 employees of the Chicago O'Hare International Airport said they plan to strike on Nov. 29 after the Thanksgiving travel rush in hopes of acquiring union rights and a $15 hourly wage.

"O'Hare Airport workers vote to STRIKE on November 29th!" Service Employees International Union Local 1, or SEIU Local 1, wrote on Twitter.

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Workers including janitors, baggage handlers, cabin cleaners and wheelchair attendants -- some whom are paid Illinois' minimum wage of $8.25 an hour -- hope to gain the public's support in their efforts.

The strike would not affect workers considered critical for operations, such as security screeners and air traffic controllers.

"It was never their intent to disrupt travel," a SEIU Local 1 spokeswoman said while announcing the strike. "They do want to gain public support."

The airport workers are not unionized by SEIU Local 1 but they are supported by the union. The workers last week voted to hold a strike and on Monday announced the date. The duration of the strike has not been determined, the SEIU Local 1 spokeswoman said.

Chicago O'Hare is one of the busiest airports in the United States.

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