Union Files Complaint Over O'Hare Working Conditions

Workers at O’Hare Airport say contractors they work for are committing safety and health violations that putting them at risk for serious injuries.

Service Employee International Union Local 1 filed complaints with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration against three contractors for what they call widespread violations Monday. Both the union and Congressman Luis Gutierrez are calling for an investigation.

“All we are saying here is, look, these men and women are getting hurt,” Gutierrez said at a press conference.

Workers protesting the conditions taped their mouths shut and wore blue medical gloves.

Union president Tom Balanoff said cabin cleaners in particular are exposed to dangerous conditions—many of them having been “pricked by needles.”

A worker who attended a press conference Monday spoke to NBC 5 on the condition of anonymity out of fear of losing his job.

“I work in terminal 5 international, which airplanes come from all over, you know? I gotta make sure everything is sanitized,” the worker said. “There’s vomit all over the place, the give us latex gloves that really thin, so they rip easily, so we need to put double gloves on.”

AirServ, one of the companies the OSHA complaint responded with a statement saying the safety of its employees is critical but it had not received the complaint. The company said it would address the concerns with OSHA at the appropriate time.

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