After threats of striking during the busiest travel week of the year, employees at Chicago O’Hare International Airport moved their strike to the week after Thanksgiving.
The workers moved their strike “to gain public support,” a spokesperson for the Service Employees International Union said at a press conference on Monday morning. “It was never their intent to disrupt travel.”
Airport employees voted almost unanimously to begin striking last week. There was a looming threat of beginning their strike right before Thanksgiving travel. Their strike will now begin on Tuesday, November 29.
Airplane cabin cleaners, baggage handlers, janitors and wheelchair attendants will picket for a $15 hourly wage (many are currently paid minimum, which is $8.25 in the state of Illinois), safer working conditions and the right to unionize.
“After building their case for $15 and union rights, O'Hare workers are ready to do whatever it takes to make sure the city, their employers and the airlines listen to their concerns,” the workers said in a statement.
Chicago’s aviation department said that it does not predict any disruption in service due to the strike.
The strike will not affect the airport’s critical workers, like air traffic controllers or security screeners, as they are unionized federal employees.
Those traveling through Chicago O’Hare airport next week should get to the airport as early as possible to compensate for long waits in security. Consider traveling carry-on only if possible and check in online.
Travelers with disability should check in with their airline before heading to the airport to ensure accommodation.