O’Hare International Airport Workers Joined By 35th Ward Alderman Carlos Ramirez-Rosa to Celebrate MLK Day with Downtown Rally and Civil Disobedience Outside of United Airlines Headquarters
O’Hare baggage carriers, security officers and passenger service workers to honor Dr. King’s legacy by taking a stand for justice and equality at nation’s airports
(CHICAGO)— Building on the success of their unfair labor practice strike in November, on Martin Luther King Jr. Day, security officers, wheelchair attendants, and other passenger service workers at O’Hare will join with other airport workers in major cities, including Boston, New York City, Newark, Philadelphia, Miami, Washington, DC, Seattle, and Portland in a large-scale national civil disobedience. The workers are protesting the gross injustices and inequality that persist at airports across the country, and are calling for change in the hopeful and visionary spirit of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Like the striking Memphis, Tenn., sanitation workers who took action nearly fifty years ago, and with whom Dr. King stood at the end of his life, airport workers make egregiously low wages that keep working families trapped in a crushing cycle of poverty. Contracted airport workers and their allies will be risking arrest as part of their commitment to do whatever it takes to win at least $15 and union rights for every airport worker. Despite helping to generate $8 billion dollars in profits for the aviation industry, contracted airport workers are still paid so little that they can’t make ends meet, forcing many of them to rely on public assistance for their basic needs in spite of working full-time jobs.
Following the first-ever national strikes at seven of the country’s busiest hubs in November and a nationwide Thanksgiving fast, these brave men and women—baggage handlers, terminal cleaners, cabin cleaners, skycaps, wheelchair agents, customer service agents, terminal security officers and ramp workers— who keep our airports safe and secure for the traveling public are celebrating Dr. King’s life by continuing his legacy of nonviolent civil disobedience in pursuit of justice and equality.
WHAT: O’Hare International Airport workers rally and protest followed by civil disobedience
WHO: 35th Ward Alderman Carlos Ramirez Rosa, O’Hare baggage handlers, security officers, passenger service workers and community allies
WHEN: Monday, January 18, 2016 at 9:00 am
WHERE: United Airlines HQ, Willis Tower 233 S Wacker Dr., Chicago, IL 60606 (Intersection of Franklin and Jackson)
VISUALS: Airport workers and allies speaking, holding signs, waving flags, marching and engaging in civil disobedience
Background: Around the country, airport workers are coming together in Airport Workers United, a movement of workers and their allies, raising their voices to make our airports safe and secure for passengers, employees and our communities. Contracted airport workers from major airports serve 393 million passengers yearly. By sticking together, speaking out for change, and going on strike, these workers have won wage increases in Los Angeles, New York City, Newark, Minneapolis, Boston, Philadelphia, and Fort Lauderdale. Today, more than 45,000 airport workers nationwide have either received wages increases or other improvements, including health care, paid sick leave and worker retention policies.