Mayor Emanuel and United Airlines CEO Jeff Smisek today met with employees from United Airlines to discuss their experiences living and working in Chicago, holding a roundtable discussion at the company’s office space in Willis Tower.
“I am committed to ensuring the safety of streets, the strength of our schools, and the stability of our finances so that Chicago is a place where companies, like United, will have the confidence to grow and invest in in and people will want to move here and raise their families.” said Mayor Emanuel.
During the roundtable, employees discussed their use of CTA trains and buses as well as Metra to get to work, and highlighted how CTA’s use of technology and social media has enhanced their experiences on public transportation. They additionally outlined for the Mayor some challenges they face in taking the CTA, including travel times to the airports and crowded cars.
“Getting to work has to be easy and convenient and I am adamant about investing in our public transportation systems,” Mayor Emanuel said.
Since taking office the Mayor has made significant investments to increase the safety of CTA riders as well as update the system and bring Chicago’s transit into the 21st Century. In November Mayor Emanuel joined Governor Pat Quinn announced more than $1 billion investment of state, local and federal funds to repair, rebuild, and update the Red and Purple Lines. In September, the first of 400 Light Emitting Diode (LED) Bus Tracker displays were unveiled, to be installed at bus shelters across the city. In addition, a new CTA station renewal initiative was launched that takes a comprehensive, almost SWAT team approach to tackling all the outstanding issues at a station at once – cleaning, repairing and improving.
Employees also discussed their thoughts about the vibrant culture, arts and tourism in Chicago. One employee relayed that in her six months living in Chicago, she’s had five friends come and visit her, including one who is considering relocating to the city. The Mayor, at the end of the event, gave each of the attendees a task: recruit at least one friend to move to Chicago.
“We need to give people the confidence to put their roots down, and make a bet on Chicago,” Mayor Emanuel said. “And I do think that, if we do the things we’re doing, they’ll make that bet.”
The 1,300 jobs at United are coming from around the country, and will allow the company to centralize its operations centers in the city. In his time as Mayor, more than 20 companies have announced that they’ll be creating jobs in Chicago, and nearly 15,000 jobs have been created through these initiatives.