Flight attendantes for 2 of the town’s largest airways protested at Halfway and O’Hare airports on Tuesday, demanding new contracts that would supply higher financial and dealing situations.

That’s vital to a piece pressure that, union leaders stated, is affected by burnout because of the pandemic.

Practically 200 unionized flight attendants with Southwest Airways lined Cicero Avenue outdoors Halfway Worldwide Airport, holding indicators slamming an airline they are saying is placing revenue over employees. They chanted and cheered as drivers of passing vehicles and vehicles honked in assist.

Over 100 United Airways’ flight attendants did the identical at O’Hare Worldwide Airport in a separate protest as passengers hurried previous to test in for his or her flights.

Each pickets have been held however every union with the Transportation Employees Union of America Native 556 representing Southwest Airways employees and United Airways’ employees being represented by the Affiliation of Flight Attendants-CWA.

Native 556 has over 18,000 members nationwide with about 2,500 of them primarily based in Chicago. These participant in Tuesday’s protest have been off responsibility.

Corliss King, a Southwest flight attendant and second vp of Native 556, stated that Tuesday’s motion is a strategy to demand that administration interact in significant negotiations.

“I consider that Southwest is utilizing the truth that we’re subjected to sure federal rules to not come to the desk and work laborious for a brand new contract,” King stated. “Flight attendants are the face of Southwest Airways; we contact each single passenger that comes by means of the doorways of Southwest, and we must be acknowledged for our contribution to the underside line, and I don’t consider that’s taking place.”

Corliss King, a Southwest Airways flight attendant and second vp of Transport Employees Union Native 556, leads a chant Tuesday for members throughout a protest on Cicero Avenue outdoors Halfway Airport.

Anthony Vazquez/Solar-Occasions

The union representing Southwest Airways flight attendants has a number of calls for, together with members being paid for on a regular basis they’re working. As an example, they don’t seem to be paid for the time they work whereas passengers are boarding; they don’t go on the clock till the door of the aircraft is closed, and go off the clock when the door opens after touchdown.

Additionally they need extra management over their schedules when not at work and a greater work-life steadiness. To perform this, they’re demanding an finish to a coverage requiring flight attendants to be on name across the clock for 3 days at a time.

King stated this on-call coverage at Southwest Airline is one thing not even firefighters or cops are subjected to — and presents a transparent hazard to passengers.

“It’s essential to recollect we’re security professionals,” King stated. “The modifications we’re asking for are as a lot about security to ensure our passengers are attending to the place they’re presupposed to go in a well timed method, and safely, however as a result of they labored us 14 — or typically 16 hours — the night time earlier than, we aren’t getting the remaining we want, or don’t also have a resort room typically.”

Which is why, King stated, they need Southwest Airways to offer applicable sleeping and consuming preparations whereas on the job. Now, some flight attendants are pressured to sleep at airports as an alternative of inns and wrestle to seek out meals throughout in a single day travels, she stated.

The union and Southwest have been in contract talks for the final 5 years. The previous contract has run out, however stays in impact pending a brand new deal. However that doesn’t forestall the corporate from making some modifications within the meantime, the union stated.

Mediation is ready to start in November.

Southwest flight attendants additionally protested at 9 different main airports throughout the nation.

A traveler passes by United Airlines flight attendants and supporters as they demonstrate outside the departure area at O’Hare International Airport’s Terminal 1 on Tuesday, Sept. 27, 2022.

A traveler passes United Airways flight attendants and supporters as they display Tuesday outdoors the departure space at O’Hare Worldwide Airport’s Terminal 1. About 100 United flight attendants and supporters picketed to demand that United resolve operational points which have induced flight delays and cancellations.

United Airways flight attendants additionally picketed outdoors airports throughout the nation demanding a lot of the identical.

Scott Pejas, a United flight attendant and president of his AFA’s Chicago chapter, stated United has operational points that aren’t being addressed and are inflicting flight attendants to be on maintain as much as 5 hours awaiting an project — or a resort room.

“The corporate isn’t working with the union to get these issues or points resolved,” Pejas stated. “We simply need the corporate to sit down on the desk and deal with these points with us as a result of they hold saying they’ll rent extra manpower to get these points resolved however the reality of the matter is we’re not seeing that.”

Pejas stated filling these workforce gaps is vital because the airline business prepares for the upcoming busy vacation season.

“We had over 110 schedulers previous to the pandemic, and we’re nowhere close to that quantity at present although our passenger hundreds have elevated to pre-pandemic ranges,” Pejas stated.