As I was arriving in Chicago at O’Hare airport, a demonstration was underway. To show my support for their cause, I embraced their spirits.

More about this protest

As the city gets closer to signing new deals that will jeopardize over 1,500 Chicago jobs, hundreds of airport concessions workers and allies held an action at the Chicago O’Hare Terminal 1 departures area, calling for city officials to move forward on measures that would improve the stability of airport jobs. Actions on May 10 come in the wake of recent firings at the airport and more than two years of asking city officials to put in place job protections and a living wage for airport workers.

Much of the food and retail concessions at both O’Hare and Midway Airports are set to undergo a redevelopment overhaul in the coming months, a transition process that will affect over 1,500 workers and over $200 million in annual revenues. Redevelopment at other major U.S. airports, such as JFK in New York and Cleveland Hopkins International in Ohio, has been accompanied by labor harmony and worker protection procedures to ensure a smooth transition to new concessions operations. Chicago has, thus far, failed to implement such measures.