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Short-staffing at United’s biggest hub means airport workers pick up the slack


I feel like I’ve seen it all

By: Oliwia Pac
May 23, 2017

Oliwia Pac

Over the course of my days working at O’Hare International Airport for Prospect Airport Services, I perform many different jobs.

I get moved from securing jetways, to pushing wheelchairs, to escorting unaccompanied minor children, depending on what my company needs at the moment.

We’re really short staffed, so Prospect tries to get people to do everything. 

We’ve gone through a lot. Long hours, low pay, and awful working conditions.  I’ve stood out on the jetways when it was 30 degrees below zero with nothing but a thin flannel to keep us warm. We’re not allowed to use our own coats.

I feel like I’ve seen it all.

Sometimes the company tells me to push people in two wheelchairs at once, because they don’t have enough staff to do it right.

The longest I’ve ever had to work in a row was 17 hours. I have to do it at the drop of a hat, too. This usually happens when there is bad weather and planes are delayed. Right now, I work 14- to 16-hour shifts at least twice a month.

The shift is just placed on my timecard without question. They don’t ask if you are busy. If you are, then there’s a whole argument process you have to go through to get those extra hours changed.

What would YOU do if your boss told you they needed you to stay for an extra 8 hours today?

That’s why I joined the Fight for $15 and union rights. So many good people quit because of this treatment, and because the wages are so low.

Winning our fight will also help me and my family. I need affordable healthcare. And $15 means I wouldn’t have to struggle to make ends meet despite working 45 hours a week.

We know the money is there.

Airlines like United are raking in billions.

When you look at it that way, $15 and union rights seems so obvious.