Skip to Content

O’Hare Airport Workers Announce a Strike Just Before the Holidays

Chicago O’Hare International airport is already extremely busy during the holiday season. And with a looming strike from workers, some are worried operations at one of the country’s busiest airports will slow during Thanksgiving and other holiday travel.

But on Monday, the airport’s janitors, baggage handlers, cabin cleaners, and wheelchair attendants planning to strike said they will wait until the Tuesday after Thanksgiving, Nov. 29, according to the Chicago Tribune. Workers first voted to authorize a strike last week, CNN Money reports.

Those going on strike are contracted workers employed by Prospect Airport Services, Scrub Inc., and the city of Chicago. They aren’t unionized, but they’re working with the Service Employees International Union. “It is not their intent to disrupt operations, but to make their voices heard and have their concerns of wage theft, safety, and working conditions to be taken seriously,” SEIU Local 1 spokesperson Izabel Miltko-Ivkovich told CNN Money. O’Hare was recently ranked the busiest airport for holiday travel by both Orbitz and Airlines for America.


Some of the workers currently earn minimum wage, which is $8.25 per hour in Illinois. They’re fighting for $15 an hour and union rights. As the workers said in a statement, “O’Hare workers are ready to do whatever it takes to make sure the city, their employers and the airlines listen to their concerns.”

Chicago’s Aviation Department told CNN Money that the strike likely won’t interfere with the airport’s service. Operations like air traffic control and security screening will not be affected.