Flight attendants picket at Chicago O'Hare Airport, demanding new contracts and higher wages

Karen Jordan Image
Wednesday, February 14, 2024
Flight attendants picket at O'Hare, demand new contracts, higher wages
How much do flight attendants make? Those picketing at Chicago O'Hare Airport want new contracts and higher wages from United Airlines and others.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Solidarity among flight attendants was on full display at Chicago O'Hare Airport on Tuesday.

A rally marked the first time flight attendants from three different unions representing major U.S. airlines collaborated on a work action to push for new contracts and higher wages.

"I absolutely know that this is the first time they have seen a showing like this worldwide. Flight attendants who are absolutely determined to command our seat at the table," said Corliss King and TWU Local 556.

The flight attendants picketed O'Hare and the nation's other busy airports on Tuesday, saying as frontline workers, they have not been rewarded for helping to keep the industry afloat during the pandemic.

"We've realized the same issues they're facing at American, Southwest, Alaska, United, the express carriers, we're all facing the same issues," said Ken Diaz with the Association of Flight Attendants.

This work action comes as nearly 100,000 flight attendants have been in contract negotiations with their respective airlines, talks they said have stretched out for years. They say raises are long overdue, as is a better pay structure.

"Half the time we're at work, we're not getting paid. The time that we're boarding, we're not getting paid. The only time that we get paid is when the doors close to when the door opens," said Scott Pejas with the AFA.

Tuesday's work action did not impact flights. Meanwhile, United, American, Alaska and Southwest airlines said they are open to continue negotiations.