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O’hare International Airport workers go on strike during the busiest travel season

Airport restaurant employees ran during one of the busiest travel days of the year.

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Restaurant workers at O’hare International Airport walked off the job at noon on Thursday, during one of the busiest travel days of the year.

The workers left in protest for higher wages and affordable health care, the Chicago Tribune reported.

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According to a spokesperson for the UNITING of HOT Local 1-union, Noah Carson-Nelson, the staff were expected to picket outside the airport terminals until at least 5 pm, Thursday evening. The union represents approximately 1,200 employees of Starbucks, Chili’s and other airport-stationed restaurants.

Airport restaurants continue to operate in the Thursday, the Chicago Tribune reported, despite the strike, which only a few employees participated. Approximately 84 percent of the union voted in favor of the protest.

“The Chicago Department of Aviation is monitoring closely the events of today, and these measures will not be affected by the activities at the O’hare International Airport in any way,” spokeswoman Lauren Huffman said in a statement to the Chicago Tribune.

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The employees work under a contract that expired since August, but HMSHost, O’Hares restaurant operator, claims to have met with the union and moving forward with the negotiations.

“It is a pity that the Local 1 seems determined to inconvenience for the travellers, in spite of our continued progress in the negotiations table,” HMSHost said in a statement.

It is not known whether the strike will continue on Friday or over the holiday weekend, which AAA seeks a record-breaking travel season.

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