Contract workers at Chicago's O'Hare International Airport are allegedly facing "rampant wage theft," and they are calling on the city and state to investigate the issue.
O'Hare workers and SEIU* Local 1 officials discussed the wage theft allegations Wednesday morning and announced filings of wage theft complaints with the Illinois Labor Department and Chicago Department of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection.
The charges include 60 Chicago minimum wage ordinance violations and 20 Illinois Labor Department violations, according to the union.
At issue are security officers, baggage handlers, cabin cleaners, wheelchair attendants and other workers who are employed by O'Hare contractors, including Universal Security, Prospect Airport Services, and Scrub, Inc. The union recently conducted a wage theft survey of about 300 contracted O'Hare workers, finding that they collectively lost $1 million in wages last year.
A group of Chicago aldermen proposed a package of ordinances Wednesday to generate revenue for the city's cash-strapped public schools.
The Chicago Public Schools (CPS) district has a $300 million budget gap, and schools are reportedly facing a 7 percent funding cut in the upcoming academic year.
"We've received some money from the state, but it's just not enough," Ald. Roderick Sawyer (6th) said at a press conference before the council meeting with fellow aldermen, the Chicago Teachers Union and other education advocates.
"We need to find more progressive and more viable solutions to increase revenue so that all of our schools can be adequately financed, so that we can give quality teachers an opportunity to teach in our schools," he continued. "When I had a conversation with a principal yesterday, she was perplexed that she could not hire a 20-plus year veteran school teacher because she could not afford it. That's not right."
In a stunning development, Britain has voted to exit the European Union, a decision that has forced the prime minister to resign, sent stock markets into turmoil and pushed the British pound down to a 31-year low.