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O’Hare Airport Restaurant Workers are On Strike

Negotiations continue between workers and employers

Restaurant workers walked off their jobs at O’Hare on Thursday.
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Ashok Selvam is the editor of Eater Chicago and a native Chicagoan armed with more than two decades of award-winning journalism. Now covering the world of restaurants and food, his nut graphs are super nutty.

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.

BREAKING! HMSHost O’Hare Airport restaurant and Starbucks workers on strike for a fair contract! #1u #unitehere

Posted by UNITE HERE Local 1 on Thursday, December 21, 2017

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.

Chicago O'Hare International Airport (ORD)

10000 W O'Hare Ave, Chicago, IL 60666 (773) 686-2200 Visit Website

Lettuce Entertain You

5419 N Sheridan Rd, Chicago, IL 60640 (773) 878-7340

Summer House Santa Monica

1954 North Halsted Street, , IL 60614 (773) 634-4100 Visit Website

Tortas Frontera

10 S Dearborn St, Chicago, IL 60603 (312) 732-6505 Visit Website