Constitutionality of Chicago Airport Security Rules Called Into Question Following Overreach by Department of Aviation

UNITE HERE Local 1 Member Files Challenge to Citation by CDA & CPD

For Release January 19, 2018
Media Contact: Noah Carson-Nelson
[email protected]

CHICAGO, IL – On Thursday, January 18, UNITE HERE Local 1 member Justice Castillo, by attorneys Tom Durkin and Robin Waters of Durkin & Roberts, filed a motion to challenge a citation issued by the Chicago Department of Aviation and the constitutionality of Chicago Municipal Code airport employee badging regulations.

Information on the challenge filing was brought to light today at an administrative hearing regarding a citation under the ordinance in question. Justice Castillo, a 22 year old Starbucks barista at HMSHost O’Hare Airport, was cited on December 21 for not properly supervising UNITE HERE Local 1 union organizers in a secure area of the airport as they cued workers for an upcoming strike; Justice is one of three HMSHost employees assigned to escort union organizers while they talk with union members inside O’Hare terminals. Police stopped Justice, took her security badge, and escorted Justice and the union organizers she was accompanying out of the airport. Justice’s security badge has been returned, but the citation could result in a fine.

A motion has been filed to challenge Justice’s citation and the constitutionality of the Chicago Municipal Code. As the citation was made at a key moment in an ongoing labor dispute, the motion contends that the issuance of the citation was a violation of Justice’s First Amendment rights; and that the citation also violated Justice’s rights under the National Labor Relations Act. The challenge to the Chicago Municipal Code asserts that §10-36-353(B) of the Code is overly vague in its description how employees who escort non-badged persons in the airport must “direct and control” those they are escorting at all times.

“This young woman was caught in the crossfire when she was cited for violation of an ordinance that we believe is fundamentally flawed. UNITE HERE will not be accepting any form of punishment for Justice.” Said Karen Kent, UNITE HERE Local 1 President. “We intend to challenge the constitutionality of this ordinance which we believe infringes upon Justice’s First Amendment rights to speech, assembly, and association.”

While HMSHost workers were on strike on December 21, CDA Commissioner Ginger Evans crossed the union picket line and tweeted a photo from inside O’Hare airport terminal restaurants and implied there was not a strike.

***** VISUAL: UNITE HERE Local 1 members waited outside Castillo’s January 18 CDA Administrative Hearing, wearing emerald green aprons which read “Justice at the Airport” and are screen printed with a picture of Justice Castillo.


UNITE HERE Local 1 represents approximately 3,700 food service workers at Chicago’s O’Hare and Midway International Airports, including more than 1200 servers, bartenders, Starbucks baristas, and other restaurant workers employed by HMSHost. HMSHost does not currently have a contract with UNITE HERE Local 1.