Last updated: 04:18 PM ET, Tue September 29 2015

Workers Rally For Better Pay at Chicago's O'Hare Airport

Impacting Travel | Donald Wood | September 29, 2015

Workers Rally For Better Pay at Chicago's O'Hare Airport

Employees at O'Hare International Airport in Chicago rallied on Tuesday in support of a national campaign to raise awareness about the substandard conditions contracted airport workers deal with across the United States.

Hundreds of workers from O’Hare Airport, as well as many community and faith leaders, rallied to bring attention to the Fight For 15 movement, a cause created in response to the poverty wages and lack of union benefits provided by many airports.

The passenger service workers, security officers and janitors impacted are arguing that they are being underpaid and mistreated despite O’Hare Airport and the airline industry as a whole handling 393 million passengers annually and making hundreds of millions of dollars in revenues and taxpayer-funded federal subsidies.

Tuesday’s rally in the Windy City was just the latest in a long line of coordinated events meant to unite airport workers from across the United States. Other major cities whose employees have joined the Fight For 15 movement include Los Angeles, Portland, Seattle, Minneapolis, Boston, New York, Newark, Philadelphia, Washington D.C. and Fort Lauderdale.

The workers who are part of the Fight For 15 movement have also formed a group called "Airports Workers United," and the organization’s focus is on improving conditions for passengers and workplace standards for employees.

The Fight For 15 movement is already having an impact, though, as many workers have immediately seen raises and other workplace improvements. For example, 4,700 employees at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport will be given wage increases thanks to a recent Washington Supreme Court ruling in favor of the workers.

Passenger Service Worker Jackie Chacko said in a statement, “Working hard at O’Hare while making poverty wages doesn’t fly. I’m fighting for $15 and union rights because my family and I depend on it.”

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