CHICAGO, Ill. -- Every day she goes to work at O'Hare International Airport, Elda Burke faces the same dilemma.
Burke, 30, works as a passenger attendant at the airport, escorting the elderly and disabled to and from their gates by wheelchair. Even though the airlines describe this as a free service, Burke's employer has her working partly for tips, which is why her base pay is a low $6.50 an hour, somewhat like a restaurant server's, rather than the typical Illinois minimum wage of $8.25.
But unlike diners at a restaurant, many of the passengers Burke will be escorting on their holiday travels this week won't realize she's working for tips -- and by federal law, she won't be allowed to tell them.
"We cannot say anything," Burke says. "If we do that, they can fire us."
The company that has been hired for this airport work is Prospect Air Services Inc. Of course they are claiming that this is just a "union ruse", and that they are paying their employees above the minimum wage. Apparently those uppity low wage workers are just lying so they can get a bigger slice of that pie that they feel entitled to *snark*.
Doing a little research shows that the average wage is $8.95 / hr at Prospect. Even if that is true and its not as the employees claim above, with 4000 employees, this is still an example of the face of a low wage service economy.
Darn uppity employees, wanting a living wage. Socialists...