Chicago O’Hare Airport will function at status quo for now. The unions who are trying to organized under the terminal operator Swissport Cargo have been authorized to move forward. Swissport Cargo is a major terminal operator, that has purchased many of the other terminal operators and works under different names. In short, there are very few operators functioning in the international airline hubs while in the past there were several. Reasons for this are due to the ability and cost of maintaining good compliance, need and cost of further automation, negotiating with the international airlines and sourcing labor. Chicago O’Hare terminal operators have not easily come to the table to work together to solve problems. The positive side if the system is unionized could be that there is better consistency in service overall, the negative could be that the airport could be shut down at times in the future if there are labor negotiations that extend past contract expiration.
There is more work to be done as the union will continue to organize and create its membership. The process will take time to develop. Over the last five years terminal fees have gone through the roof, we are hoping that there will be better stabilizing and consistency in the fees overall with this type of change.
Chicago is not alone, since 2018 unionization of the airports has swept the country.
While our update is cargo – centric, companies like Swissport also offer ground handling services on the tarmac and other services throughout the airport.