Travelers who have purchased a bottle of champagne on a flight
leaving Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport within the last four
years most likely had their bottle handled by George Means, a 58
year-old lifelong Chicagoan who earns $10.30 per hour.
Means, a liquor handler for a company that touts itself as the world’s largest independent airline and railroad caterer, Switzerland-based Gate Gourmet, said he stocks more than 500 liquor bottles every day.
former construction worker who was laid off during the economic
recession, he is one of 900 O’Hare Gate Gourmet workers represented by UNITE HERE Local 1.
put in a good day’s work, you should get what you’re worth out of it,”
said Means, who added that he made more than double his full-time liquor handler
wages as a construction worker. “We are overworked and underpaid.”
tentative deal between the union and Gate Gourmet may alleviate some of
Means', and his coworkers’, financial woes. UNITE HERE has been in
negotiations with the company since May 2012 and was able to reach a possible agreement with the company last week.
The major sticking point during
negotiations was a wage increase, according to the union. Workers are
scheduled to vote on the tentative contract before the end of this week. Read more »