Patrick J. O'Connor

Chicago set to raise airport workers' pay, clear path to a union

Chicago set to raise airport workers' pay, clear path to a union

Edith Alvarenga has spent the past 12 years picking up trash, sweeping up crumbs and mopping up spills — and occasional bodily fluids — that passengers leave behind on airplanes. And she loves it.

She loves that nearly everyone at O'Hare Airport knows her. She loves helping passengers, especially Spanish-speaking travelers, when they aren't sure where to go. She loves seeing people arriving and departing, which makes her feel like she is traveling herself.

What Alvarenga says she doesn't love about her job as a cabin cleaner in Terminal 3 is that she gets no benefits, that her $11.50 hourly wage is barely enough to make ends meet and that workers are sometimes treated...

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