Free Thanksgiving Meal Makes Airline Workers Sick

United Airlines offered free turkey dinners to nearly 3,000 employees working the holiday at Chicago's O'Hare International this week. Unfortunately, many of the diners became sick.

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SCOTT SIMON, host:

This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Scott Simon.

(Soundbite of music)

SIMON: Labor management tension, ba humbug. United Airlines offered free turkey dinners to nearly 3,000 mechanics, baggage handlers, and other employees working the holiday at Chicago's O'Hare International on Thursday. The dinner was seen as a gesture of reconciliation from the company, which has been criticized for giving pay increases to executives after line employees agreed to take day cuts to keep the company from going under.

For years, management worked to distance themselves from employees, but now, they're trying to reach out, said Don Wolfel, president of the Aircraft Mechanics Local 4, the idea is that we're all in this together.

But employees said the turkey, which was provided by a caterer, didn't smell quite right, and several employees began to suffer nausea and were taken to the University of Illinois Medical Center at the airport. I wonder how many executives got sick. So the next time the company decides to reach out, maybe a gift certificate for a free burrito would be a better idea.

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