(CHICAGO) – Today, members of the Chicago Aviation Committee are convening a community forum with religious leaders and hundreds of airport workers to press the City to adopt measures to protect hundreds of jobs in Chicago’s airports. In the next six months, more than 1,500 airport workers in Chicago could be thrown out of work or see their wages cut as the City undertakes a massive redevelopment of O’Hare and Midway Airports. Following the forum, workers and city leaders are marching to City Hall for an action to press leaders to protect airport jobs.
Community leaders from across the city and of many faiths are participating in today’s event, including Bishop Alberto Rojas (Archdiocese of Chicago), Alderman Jason Ervin (28th Ward, the sponsor of the “Stable Jobs, Stable Airports” ordinance), Aviation Committee members John Arena (45th Ward), Tim Cullerton (38th Ward), Pat Dowell (3rd Ward), Willie Cochran (20th Ward), JoAnn Thompson (16th Ward), and Danny Solis (25th Ward). The forum is being led by William McNary, Citizen Action Illinois co-Director, and supporters are discussing the future of stable jobs for Chicago airport workers.
“I support the ordinance for stable jobs out at the airport because employees of the airport work hard, travel a long way, and they have families to feed,” said Alderman Willie Cochran (20th Ward). “We all need stability in our lives. It means strong families, and it means strong outcomes.”
Today’s event is part of broader multi-year effort to secure a living wage and job protections for workers in Chicago’s airports. More than a year ago, city leaders introduced the “Stable Jobs, Stable Communities” ordinance which would ensure a smooth transition and a living wage for airport workers. Such measures have been adopted in other major cities nationwide, but Chicago, thus far, has failed to implement such measures.
“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,” said O’Hare worker Tameka Shivers. “My job allows me to be independent and to take care of my boys, which is why I hope city leaders will put in place the protections we need to make sure my job is here to stay.”
Chicago’s hospitality workers live in every corner of the city – supporting local business, religious institutions, and communities. The job crisis in Chicago affects workers deeply, especially as Chicago communities confront challenges such as safety, foreclosures, and education.
UNITE HERE Local 1 represents approximately 15,000 hospitality workers and casino workers in the Chicago area and Northwest Indiana.