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Midway Newsstand Workers Say O'Hare Counterparts Get Better Pay, Benefits

By Joe Ward | August 14, 2017 8:03am | Updated on August 18, 2017 11:39am
 Workers at Midway Airport's Hudson News stands, represented by Local 1, demonstrate Friday for treatment equal to that of their O'Hare Airport counterparts.
Workers at Midway Airport's Hudson News stands, represented by Local 1, demonstrate Friday for treatment equal to that of their O'Hare Airport counterparts.
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Unite Here Local 1

DALEY PLAZA — Workers at Midway Airport's newsstands are paid less and receive fewer benefits than their peers at O'Hare Airport — and are asking the city's help in their fight — according to the employees union.

Hudson News took over a number of additional news stands at Midway this summer after the airport underwent a $75 million redevelopment of its concessions. During the process, some employees lost their access to "high quality, affordable" health care and are being paid less than the $13.45 minimum wage for city contractors, according to Local 1, the union representing more than 3,500 concessions workers at both of Chicago's airports.

Workers for Hudson News' O'Hare stores still receive the same health care plans as Midway's workers previously did, said Sarah Lyons, spokeswoman for the union.

A spokesman for Hudson News did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The Midway workers demonstrated outside City Hall Friday to call for an investigation by the city into the alleged minimum wage violations. A 2014 executive order signed by Mayor Rahm Emanuel requires all city workers and contractors to receive a minimum wage of $13.45.

"It was bad enough when I found out Hudson News cut off my previous health care plan. Now they are paying less than the required minimum wage," employee Cheryl McKinnis said in a statement. "Every cent counts when I'm trying to put food on the table for my kids and make rent. South Side workers deserve better from Hudson News."

Hudson News employee Nikita Banks said her previous health care coverage saved her life after a serious diagnosis, but now she worries what would happen to her if her health failed under her new health care plan.

"We're proud of the work we do at Midway," Banks said. "We refuse to be treated as anything less than equal to our counterparts at O'Hare."