For immediate release
December 21, 2017
BREAKING: O’Hare Airport Bartenders, Cooks, other Restaurant Workers Strike
CHICAGO, IL— O’Hare Airport restaurant workers employed by HMSHost International are on strike. Workers at some food service outlets walked off the job in an effort to gain affordable, quality healthcare as a part of a new union contract.
Striking workers, who are Starbucks baristas, servers, cooks, and other restaurant workers, are picketing HMSHost outside airport terminals.
The last negotiating session between HMSHost and UNITE HERE Local 1 was December 14, after which the union and company remained far apart on key issues.
A survey by UNITE HERE of 375 HMSHost workers at O’Hare found:
- 42% of HMSHost workers surveyed say they do not enroll in insurance plans HMSHost offers because they cannot afford it.
- 1 in 3 HMSHost workers surveyed report that they, their spouse, or a child rely on a government program for healthcare coverage
- 1 in 4 HMSHost workers surveyed said that in the past year, a family member had not received doctor’s care, prescription medications, or other medical treatment because the family needed the money to buy food, clothing, or pay for housing
More results from this survey and HMSHost workers’ reasons for needing quality, affordable healthcare can be found at www.unitehere1.org/WeDeserveBetter.
“My coworkers and I need a contract that protects our health, our jobs, and our families. We are going to keep up the pressure on HMSHost until we get it,” said Boddrick Barnes, a cook at HMSHost and union negotiating committee member.
UNITE HERE Local 1 represents about 3,700 food service workers at Chicago’s O’Hare and Midway International Airports.