(CHICAGO) – On Friday, October 19, 2012, members of UNITE HERE Local 1 who work at O’Hare Airport ratified a contract covering 1,200 HMS Host workers. This contract represents a significant commitment from HMS Host to provide quality and stable jobs for airport workers.
After four months of negotiations with HMS Host, workers settled new contracts that raise wages and give hundreds of workers without health insurance access to affordable healthcare. Highlights of the contract settlement include a wage scale that ensures every worker will be making a family supporting wage in the next five years. Additionally, the new contract has provisions that will significantly lower health care costs for all workers, which will enable workers to access health care coverage for as little as $4 a week. An overwhelming majority of workers voted to ratify the contract.
“Between the raises and the new affordable health care options, I can now get coverage that I couldn’t afford before,” said O’Hare worker Tameka Shivers. “I am a single mom with three boys: an eight year-old who has Downs syndrome, a five year-old, and three year-old who is a sickle cell carrier. This new contract allows me to be independent and know that I can take care of my boys.”
Airport workers greet thousands of guests who come to Chicago, but sadly for too long many workers have been living in poverty. This new contract will put millions of dollars into the pockets of working people and Chicago neighborhoods over the life of the contract.
“This is the best contract we have gotten from Host. It’s the biggest wage increase, and we now have affordable health insurance,” said O’Hare worker Boddrick Barnes. “Years ago, I was diagnosed with a heart condition, so having affordable health care is really important to me and my family.”
UNITE HERE Local 1 represents approximately 15,000 hospitality workers and casino workers in the Chicago area and Northwest Indiana.