The labor strife that started in November at O’Hare International Airport continues as a variety of workers —including those at Tortas Frontera by Rick Bayless, Starbucks, and Chili’s Too — walked off the job Thursday afternoon. Staffing levels were among the issues negotiated by the workers’ union and HMSHost, the company that runs airport concessions. The parties have had ongoing bargaining sessions since the start of December.
Picketing was to last until 5 p.m., reported the Tribune. It’s unclear if the strike will linger on through Christmas weekend. The union, UNITE HERE Local 1, represents about 3,700 restaurant workers including cooks and servers at places including Publican Tavern and Summer House Santa Monica. HMSHost licenses the restaurants. Parent companies, such as One Off Hospitality Group and Lettuce Entertain You Enterprises, aren’t directly involved.
The union and HMSHost last met to negotiate on Thursday, according to UNITE, which posted its issues on its website. Insurance coverage and costs were among the issues. The union had been planning a strike since early December.
HMSHost issued a short statement to the Tribune saying it’s “unfortunate” that the union is “determined to inconvenience travelers.” They said negotiations have seen progress.