Amid holiday travel chaos, workers call on Congress to pass the Good Jobs for Good Airport Act, which will alleviate staff shortages by creating family sustaining jobs
Charlotte Rally part of nationwide protests at airports that control 45% of all U.S. domestic air travel; 65% of U.S. travel through major hubs
WHAT: Charlotte Airport workers join actions in 15 cities to pass the Good Jobs for Good Airports Act, which will raise wages and benefits and alleviate staffing shortages.
WHO: Charlotte Airport service workers including cabin cleaners, wheelchair agents, and others. Community & Labor Groups : SEIU, CWA, APFA, UNITE HERE, Raise Up
WHEN: Thursday, December 8, 2022 at 2:45pm
WHERE: Charlotte Airport, 1st Amendment Zone across from airport (corner N Josh Birmingham Pkwy & Wilkinson Blvd)
[Charlotte, NC] — Amid holiday travel chaos and staffing shortages, overworked and understaffed Charlotte Airport workers will join protests in 15 major cities to call on Congress to pass the Good Jobs for Good Airports Act, which will ensure airport service workers have living wages and life-saving benefits such as paid time off and healthcare. Actions and protests are planned at airports controlling 45% of all U.S. domestic air travel and 65% of all U.S. travel through major hubs.
Charlotte cabin cleaners, cabin cleaners, trash truck drivers and others who are organizing with the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), as well as local labor leaders and community supporters will hold a rally at the at the Charlotte Airport (1st Amendment Zone) on Thursday, December 8th to call for an end to low wage, dead end jobs.
“I had to go back to work a month after my baby was born, because I couldn’t afford to stay home without pay. Many of us have to work overtime or multiple jobs, just to pay the bills,” said Morgani Brown a cabin cleaner employed by the airline contractor, JetStream, which does not offer paid maternity leave. “Because of our hard work, families can travel and reunite during the holidays, but we rarely have time to spend with our own loved ones.”
Morgani and other airport workers say low pay, poor working conditions, and lack of benefits, such as paid sick time and affordable healthcare are fueling high turnover rates. Some JetStream cabin cleaners say they often come into contact with vomit, blood, and feces but are understaffed and are sometimes given just a few minutes to clean planes. Others reported having to work in the extreme North Carolina heat during the summer without sufficient access to drinking water.
“We’re short staffed because the pay and benefits are not enough for what we do,” said Shonda Barber, a JetStream trash truck driver who sometimes fills in as a cabin cleaner. “I work 60 hours a week and am just barely surviving. We don’t get enough paid time off, even during the pandemic. I lost two weeks without pay when I had to quarantine. We need Congress to step up and make sure these are good jobs. That’s good for workers and for passengers.”
According to a 2017 UC Berkeley study, better wages encourage employee retention and improve airport security. The Good Jobs for Good Airports Act will ensure airport service jobs at our publicly-funded airports have minimum wage and benefit standards that will help stabilize the workforce, keeping airports secure and travelers on time.
Charlotte workers and airport workers throughout the country will demand that Congress call out unchecked corporate power, and take action to uplift the entire workforce, including Black and brown workers who often hold the lowest paid jobs in the air travel industry.
Without healthcare, paid leave, safe working conditions or protections on the job, airport service workers—whose wages have been near poverty level for the past 20 years—are facing a crisis fueled by corporate greed.
With more than 175,000 members in 12 states, including 18,000 contracted airport workers, 32BJ SEIU is the largest property service workers union in the country.