Marlen Garcia: A ‘moral obligation’ to pay airport workers fairly

1-5 Lawrence & Manheim Rd.Members of the SEIU Local 1 held a rally and press conference just outside of O'Hare International Airport to highlight the plight of the security workers at both O'Hare and Midway airports. Their contract expired on December 31, 2001. The President of Local 1 SEIU Tom Balanoff spoke on their behalf. Sun-Times photo Robert A. Davis

The major airlines operating at O’Hare International Airport should make sure their contractors aren’t ripping off low-level workers such as janitors and baggage handlers. It’s the right thing to do.

Mayor Rahm Emanuel also should see to it that workers, including airplane cabin cleaners, aren’t being forced to work through breaks, start work early and stay late — with no pay for those hours. He should demand that wheelchair attendants be brought to minimum wage when tips don’t get them there.

Some nonunion workers who say companies are skimming wages filed complaints with the Illinois Department of Labor and the city’s Department of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection. The latter oversees enforcement of Chicago’s $10.50 minimum wage. The Service Employees International Union Local 1, which wants to unionize the workers, is leading the effort.

Read the full story over at the Chicago Sun-Times.

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