Workers Lose Battle, And Jobs, As Airport Contract Changes Hands
Weeks of protests from over 200 unionized janitors have done little in the fight against new cleaning contractors at Chicago's O'Hare International Airport. A November announcement revealed that United Maintenance Company would take over the cleaning at the areas busiest airport, a move that could displace the over 350 workers currently cleaning the facility.
In response to the news, workers and union representatives protested, claiming that the new company is known for undercutting jobs, wages and benefits to their employees, and it is believed that "there might be some questionable people who have been associated with this company." Protests aside, the new contract has come to fruition.
According to recent reports, United Maintenance said it had re-hired 110 of the employees under the previous contract, while union leaders claim the company had only re-hired only about 50. Union representatives, as well as some aldermen, have also called for a re-bid of the contract, but Mayor Rahm Emanuel stood firm, saying the deal would save the city millions of dollars. Under the new $99.4 million contract, United Maintenance will employ about 400 non-union workers.
These custodial workers will receive a starting wage of roughly $12 an hour and will be offered benefits and a 401K. According to reports, these offerings are less than what existing workers had been earning at the airport.
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