They voted last week to strike over Thanksgiving but said Monday they didn't want to ruin the holiday for travelers and opted to set the strike date for November 29. Workers voted Thursday to strike. Service Employees International Union is helping the workers organize the strike. Those hundreds of employees, who mostly work for private contractors, include baggage handlers and cleaning staff, the report stated.
The Chicago Department of Aviation said it did not expect a service disruption during the holiday rush, according to WLS-TV.
Workers at O'Hare International Airport have chose to hold off on going on strike until after the Thanksgiving holiday weekend.
Similar actions have been taken by workers at other airports like LaGuardia and John F. Kennedy International Airports in NY but the disruptions were not major, the Associated Press reported. "They do a lot of work and all of our luggage personal possessions are in their hands, so I don't want anybody stealing anything because they aren't making enough money", said passenger Trevor Black.
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.
Currently, the federal minimum wage is $7.25 an hour, which translates to just $15,080 a year for someone working 40 hours a week. "It is their intent to bring light to these conditions that they're working under", said SEIU Local 1 spokeswoman Izabela Mitkoivkovich. The subcontractors named by the union as employers of the workers - Scrub, Prospect Airport Services and AirServ - either declined to comment or did not respond to requests for comment. Some earn minimum wage, which is $8.25 in IL. Critical employees such as air traffic controllers will not join the strike.
According to SEIU union leaders, workers plan to protest outside the airport and even walk through the terminals.
"We are taking the necessary steps to ensure a safe and on-time operation for our customers", a spokesperson for United Airlines told Business Insider of the upcoming strike.