Chicago O’Hare airport workers to strike November 29

CNN photo

CNN photo

NEW YORK (CNNMoney) — Hundreds of workers at Chicago O’Hare International Airport plan to strike on Tuesday, November 29.

“It was never their intent to disrupt travel,” said a spokeswoman for the Service Employees International Union during a at a press conference at the airport Monday morning. She was responding to a question as to why the workers won’t strike during the busy Thanksgiving travel week. “They do want to gain public support.”

Janitors, baggage handlers, cabin cleaners and wheelchair attendants want a wage of $15 an hour. Some are paid minimum wage, $8.25 an hour in Illinois. The strike would not affect more critical workers, like air traffic controllers and security screeners.

“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.

The workers are not unionized by the Service Employees International Union, but they are supported by the SEIU. They voted last week to authorize a strike. The duration of the strike was yet to be determined, said a spokesman for the union.

The airport workers in Chicago are employed by Prospect Airport Services, AirScrub Inc. and the city of Chicago. American Airlines and United Airlines are the largest airlines at the mid-western hub.

O’Hare is one of the busiest airports in the country, handling 77 million passengers last year. AAA estimates that 3.7 million people will fly thoughout the U.S. over the Thanksgiving holiday, from Wednesday through Sunday.