Union workers and a group of Chicago aldermen want the city to rebid a controversial contract at O’Hare International Airport.
The city signed a $99 million contract with a new janitorial company called United Maintenance. The new contract starts Friday.
But janitors who are members of Service Employees International Union said the deal is costing them jobs.
Mildred Rueda has been a custodian at the airport for seven years. She’s is one of almost 300 workers that will be out of a job.
“They’re taking my job away from me and giving it to somebody else” Rueda said. “And I think it’s unfair.”
Four alderman: Scott Waugespack (32nd Ward), Rod Sawyer (6th Ward), Nick Sposato (36th Ward), and Rick Muñoz (22nd Ward) are calling for the city administration to move forward with a responsible bidders ordinance.
“We’re seeing a push in city administration to eliminate good paying jobs and provide workers with lower wages through contracting agencies that do not follow a responsible bidding,” Waugespack said.
Waugespack said this ordinance will require companies like United to provide workers with good salaries and benefits. The ordinance would apply to contracts for janitorial, security and window washing over $50,000 in Chicago.
Thirty-one alderman have already signed on. United Maintenance said it’s offered positions to more than 100 laid off employees. The company also said that O’Hare workers are provided full health benefits.
Other SEIU members also can reapply for their jobs.
But some Chicago aldermen complain the airport workers could face lower pay.
“These men and women who have been laboring day in and day out are being let go,” Muñoz said. “They’re being replaced by employees that will be paid less.”
Muñoz said in being financially responsible, the city is being socially irresponsible and that Mayor Rahm Emanuel is “looking to nickel and dime the city.”
Mayor Rahm Emanuel released a statement saying he’s committed to a competitive and fair bidding process.