Carrying signs reading "O'Hare Airport Starbucks Unfair to Workers," hundreds of UNITE HERE Local 1 restaurant workers at O'Hare picketed in front of the airport terminals for three weeks in October to wrap up their seven-month contract fight. Starbucks, as well as other food concessions, at Chicago's O'Hare Airport are operated by franchisee HMS Host. The 900 HMS Host workers at O'Hare Airport joined UNITE HERE Local 1 in February, 2005. Since then, the workers have been building their committee and engaging in actions to win their best contract yet. Highlights include a $2.40 wage increase over four years for the non-tipped workers and a decrease in the workers' monthly copays for health insurance from $90 to $19 for individual coverage and from $250 to $85 for family coverage.
"We fought hard for the best contract since we've been working at the airport. Now we need to make the contract work for us and keep moving forward toward the contract fight in 2009," said Boddrick Barnes, a cook at Fox Sky Box at O'Hare and a member of the negotiating committee.