“This raise means that I can finally afford my rent, get groceries, not have a hassle trying to pay off my student loans,” Oliwia Pac, who helps passengers in wheelchairs, escorts children traveling alone onto flights and works security at O’Hare Airport, tells the Sun-Times.
“It could be better. But this is a very big step that has occurred for us as airport workers. I’m just beyond ecstatic. We’re slowly but surely winning.”Born-of-the-manor Chris Kennedy could have at least shown the decency to congratulate the airport workers and SEIU Local 1 on their strike victory before bashing the settlement. Instead guv candidate Kennedy, appearing on Ben Joravsky's show on WCPT, in an otherwise fine interview, attacked the victory celebration claiming the hard-won raise of the minimum wage to "no less than" $13.45 wasn't high enough for him.
He asks Ben, "Is the city council proud of the fact that they're paying somebody $13.45 and hour? Does somebody think that's a good idea? Does anyone think that that's a living wage?No, Mr. Kennedy. I doubt that anyone thinks that? But if you're making ten bucks an hour and you raise the minimum wage 30%, that's something to cheer about.
The workers also won the right for baggage handlers, cabin cleaners, aircraft maintenance workers, security guards and other contract employees to organize without interference, for the first time. To win this, they had to agree to a "no strike" clause. But agreements like this have never stopped workers from using an array of tactics beyond the legal strike to win their demands.
Kennedy, who like the rest of the IL Dem primary candidates, has suddenly discovered his inner leftism, at least up until election day, has never had a real job himself and obviously has never walked a picket line. Of course $13.45 is not a living wage. Neither is $15 as in "Fight For 15". But buy raising the floor, the SEIU-led victory lifted up all the airport workers. The struggle for a living wage and for full union rights continues.
BTW, Kennedy was not a big fan of workers rights when he chaired the U of I Board of Trustees and had faculty members fired or discredited for their political views.
|Danny Rodriguez on Hitting Left.|