(Press) Restaurant Workers Strike At Chicago’s O’Hare Airport

via NPR: Employees at Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport’s restaurants, bars and coffee shops went on strike at noon Thursday. HMSHost tells the Chicago Sun-Times that the restaurants are open and “operating smoothly.” “Don’t get caught HANGRY!” warn the handbills the union has been passing out at airports across the country. “[M]ake sure you’re not impacted, pack a snack!”…

BREAKING: O’Hare Airport Bartenders, Cooks, other Restaurant Workers Strike

ohareCHICAGO, IL— O’Hare Airport restaurant workers employed by HMSHost International are on strike. Workers at some food service outlets walked off the job in an effort to gain affordable, quality healthcare as a part of a new union contract.

Striking workers, who are Starbucks baristas, servers, cooks, and other restaurant workers, are picketing HMSHost outside airport terminals.

The last negotiating session between HMSHost and UNITE HERE Local 1 was December 14, after which the union and company remained far apart on key issues.

A survey by UNITE HERE of 375 HMSHost workers at O’Hare found:

  • 42% of HMSHost workers surveyed say they do not enroll in insurance plans HMSHost offers because they cannot afford it.
  • 1 in 3 HMSHost workers surveyed report that they, their spouse, or a child rely on a government program for healthcare coverage
  • 1 in 4 HMSHost workers surveyed said that in the past year, a family member had not received doctor’s care, prescription medications, or other medical treatment because the family needed the money to buy food, clothing, or pay for housing

More results from this survey and HMSHost workers’ reasons for needing quality, affordable healthcare can be found at www.unitehere1.org/WeDeserveBetter.

“My coworkers and I need a contract that protects our health, our jobs, and our families. We are going to keep up the pressure on HMSHost until we get it,” said Boddrick Barnes, a cook at HMSHost and union negotiating committee member.

Contact: Noah Carson-Nelson
312-933-4045 – ncarsonnelson@unitehere1.org

###

UNITE HERE Local 1 represents about 3,700 food service workers at Chicago’s O’Hare and Midway International Airports.

(Press) O’Hare restaurant workers warn holiday travelers of possible strike

via Sun Times: Restaurant and concessions workers at O’Hare Airport are warning holiday travelers that their trips could be affected by a possible strike for more affordable health insurance and higher wages…

(Press) O’Hare restaurant workers vote to authorize strike

via Chicago Sun Times: Restaurant and concessions workers at O’Hare Airport voted on Thursday to authorize a strike for more affordable health insurance and higher wages….

(Press) O’Hare restaurant workers vote to strike, but timing of a walkout is unclear

via Chicago Tribune: Workers at O’Hare International Airport’s restaurants, bars and coffee shops voted Thursday to strike in an effort to secure higher wages and more affordable health insurance…

(Press) O’Hare airport restaurant workers vote to authorize strike

via LA Times: Workers at restaurants, bars and coffee shops at O’Hare International Airport have voted to authorize a strike amid ongoing contract negotiations…

Restaurant Workers, Starbucks Baristas at O’Hare Airport Vote to Strike

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – December 7, 2017
Contact: Noah Carson-Nelson
312-933-4045 – ncarsonnelson@unitehere1.org

Restaurant Workers, Starbucks Baristas at O’Hare Airport Vote to Strike
After months of working under an expired contract, workers for HMSHost at O’Hare Airport authorize their
Union Negotiating Committee to call a strike at any time

CHICAGO, IL – On Thursday, December 7, food concessions workers Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport
voted to authorize the union negotiating committee to call for job actions, up to and including a strike. Workers
are members of UNITE HERE Local 1, employed by HMSHost International, and have been working under an
expired contract since August 2017.

They hope to settle a contract with HMSHost which includes quality, affordable health insurance and an end to
poverty wages at O’Hare before the Christmas holiday. This vote affects more than 1,200 people who work as
baristas, cooks, servers, bussers, and bartenders, among other classifications at Starbucks, Wolfgang Puck
Express, The Publican Tavern (a One Off Hospitality brand), Summer House Santa Monica (a Lettuce
Entertain You Enterprises brand), Chili’s Grill & Bar, and Tortas Frontera (a Rick Bayless Brand) among
others.

“It’s time to come together and stand up for our health and our families.” Said Tamekah Shivers, a Barista at a
Starbucks store at O’Hare, “I have to sacrifice to get the healthcare I need, I catch myself wondering: How am I
paying my bills? How am I getting food for my kids? I refuse to sacrifice like that anymore.” About 230 people
work at 17 HMSHost Starbucks stores in O’Hare Airport. 81% of baristas at HMSHost make less than the
Airport Minimum Wage of $13.45 per hour, though this minimum wage does not currently apply to
HMSHost.(1)

A survey by UNITE HERE of 375 HMSHost O’Hare workers found:

  • 1 in 4 HMSHost workers surveyed said that in the past year, a family member had not received doctor’s
    care, prescription medications, or other medical treatment because the family needed the money to buy
    food, clothing, or pay for housing
  • 42% of HMSHost workers surveyed say they do not enroll in insurance plans HMSHost offers because
    they cannot afford it.
  • 1 in 3 HMSHost workers surveyed report that they, their spouse, or a child rely on a government program
    for healthcare coverage

“Our members provide world class hospitality at one of the busiest airports in the country.” says Karen Kent,
President of UNITE HERE Local 1. “They serve Chicagoans and travelers from all over the world everyday—
that warrants a fair wage, respect, and good, affordable healthcare. We are proud to stand with HMSHost workers
as they fight for what they deserve.”

“We’ve had enough of poverty wages, unaffordable healthcare, and disrespect from our managers and HMSHost,
if it takes a strike to win a good contract, we’re ready.” Said Boddrick Barnes, a cook at Macaroni Grill at
O’Hare.

Contract negotiations between HMSHost and UNITE HERE Local 1are next scheduled for December 14.

(1) The Mayor’s Executive Order which establishes the Airport Minimum Wage applies to City of Chicago contracts advertised
on or after October 1, 2014 Executive Order No. 2014-01.  

###

UNITE HERE Local 1 represents about 3,700 food service workers at Chicago’s O’Hare and Midway
International Airports. Additional results from survey referenced can be found at www.unitehere1.org/WeDeserveBetter