For immediate release
October 5, 2011
Chicago, IL – Aldermen, community leaders, and more than 300 O’Hare and Midway airport concessions workers and allies rallied in City Hall this morning to introduce the Stable Jobs, Stable Airports Ordinance to ensure stability for O’Hare and Midway passengers, City revenue, and Chicago communities as Chicago puts airport concession contracts worth more than $2.5 billion out to bid.
“These big airport deals should not just support large multinational companies, but Chicago residents and communities as well,” said Ald. Jason Ervin (28th), lead sponsor of the ordinance.
In the coming months more than 1,500 Chicago residents could be thrown out of work at O’Hare and Midway airports as the City cuts multi-billion dollar deals with big multinational companies in the largest turnover of concessions in Chicago’s history.
"I need my job. Where will I go? I need to support my family. I’ve worked at O’Hare for 23 years. What will I do if I lose my job?" said Aida Olavarria, an O’Hare food service worker and resident of Chicago’s Humboldt Park community.
While 70% of O’Hare and Midway concessions are controlled by multinational companies based overseas, they have used a loophole to evade Chicago’s “living wage” of $11.18 per hour for contractors, pocketing millions of dollars that should go to Chicago workers and communities.
“It troubles me to see so many people struggling to pay for basic things like food or rent, while these big corporations are pocketing millions,” said Jerry Ward, a retail worker at Midway Airport who lives in Chicago’s Roseland neighborhood.
Around the country 18 other airports – including LAX, JFK, Miami, and Cleveland – have adopted standards to protect workers and communities, ensure smooth operations for travelers, and protect airport revenue from disruptions during big contract turnovers.
The Stable Jobs Stable Airports ordinance would close the loophole that has enabled airport contracts to evade Chicago’s living wage, ensure job stability for thousands of workers, and protect airport revenue from disruptions as new contractors take over.