Airport Workers Will Risk Arrest in Newark & 9 Other Cities on Martin Luther King Jr. Day

Airport Workers Will Risk Arrest in Newark & 9 Other Cities on Martin Luther King Jr. Day

Newark— In the commemoration of Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Newark airport workers will join with workers and allies in 10 major cities— including Boston, Chicago, New York City, Newark, Philadelphia, Miami, Washington, DC, Seattle, and Portland— in a large-scale national civil disobedience action. The workers are protesting the gross injustices and inequality that persist at airports across the country, and are calling for change in the hopeful and visionary spirit of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

“Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was an advocate of civil rights and workers’ rights,” said Gertrudis Lopez, a cabin cleaner at Newark Liberty International Airport.  “If Dr. King was alive today he would stand with airport workers like me who are fighting for dignity and a living wage so we can support our families.”

Contracted airport workers and their allies will be risking arrest as part of their commitment to do whatever it takes to win at least $15 and union rights for every airport worker.

Like the striking Memphis, Tennesee sanitation workers who took action nearly fifty years ago, and with whom Dr. King stood at the end of his life, airport workers face inhumane conditions at work and the daily anxiety and struggles of poverty.

Despite helping to generate $8 billion dollars in profits for the aviation industry, contracted airport workers are still paid so little that they can’t make ends meet, forcing many of them to rely on public assistance for their basic needs in spite of working full-time jobs.

Following the first-ever national strikes at seven of the country’s busiest hubs in November and a nationwide Thanksgiving fast, these brave men and women—baggage handlers, terminal cleaners, cabin cleaners, skycaps, wheelchair agents, customer service agents, terminal security officers and ramp workers— who keep our airports safe and secure for the traveling public are celebrating Dr. King’s life by continuing his legacy of nonviolent civil disobedience in pursuit of justice and equality.

WHAT:            Newark Airport Rally & March followed by Civil Disobedience

WHO:            Newark Mayor Ras Baraka, Senator Raymond Lesniak and other elected officials, 32BJ representatives, and contracted airport workers

WHEN:          Monday, January 18, 2016 at 11am

WHERE:        Terminal B, Departures, 2nd level near Door # 9

                                Speaking program begins at 11 am at Terminal B.  Afterwards we will march to Terminal C

VISUALS:       Banners, signs, hats, buttons and a sea of purple sashes

*About 32BJ: With 145,000 members in 11 states–including more than 10,000 in New Jersey–32BJ SEIU is the largest property services union in the country.

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Background:

Around the country, airport workers are coming together in Airport Workers United, a movement of workers and their allies, raising their voices for $15 and union rights to make our airports safe and secure for passengers, employees and our communities. By sticking together, speaking out for change, and going on strike, these workers have won wage increases in Los Angeles, New York City, Newark, Minneapolis, Boston, Philadelphia, and Fort Lauderdale. Today, more than 70,000 airport workers nationwide have either received wages increases or other improvements, including healthcare, paid sick leave and worker retention policies.
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