Chris King, Congressman Soto, FL Senator Torres, FL Rep Mercado & Disney Workers Join Orlando Airport Workers to Protest Poverty Wages

New report shows the gateway to the way to the ‘happiest place on earth’ is a sweatshop MCO airport workers, including wheelchair attendants, earn as little as $5.23 an hour, 34% are Puerto Rican Disney workers who just won $15 an hour will stand in solidarity with airport workers, call for fair wages for fair work
For more information:

Ana Tinsly, amtinsly@seiu32bj.org, 646-331-4765

WHAT: Rally for a $15 an hour living wage for Orlando airport workers and release of report showing MCO workers are earning poverty wages.
WHO: Chris King, candidate for Lieutenant Governor, Congressman Darren Soto, FL Senator Victor Torres, FL Representative Amy Mercado, wheelchair attendants, security agents, baggage handlers, and other airport workers, Disney workers, and representatives from Vamos4PR Action, Central Florida Jobs with Justice, Central Florida AFLCIO, Unite HERE 362, Faith in Florida, Organize Florida, ATU, CWA, SEIU 1199, FPSU, and United Faculty of UCF.

*Spanish speakers, including airport workers from Puerto Rico, will be available*

WHEN: Wednesday, September 19, 1:15pm
WHERE: Hyatt Regency at Orlando International Airport (4th Floor, East Lobby)
9300 Jeff Fuqua Blvd, Orlando, FL 32827
VISUALS: Workers with signs, purple t-shirts chanting.

(Orlando, FL) Chris King, candidate for Lieutenant Governor, Congressman Darren Soto, State Senator Torres, Representative Mercado, Disney workers, and other labor and community allies, will join Orlando airport workers who earn as little as $5.23 an hour, at an airport rally on Wednesday, September 19, to protest poverty wages and sweatshop working conditions at MCO.

“I’ve worked at the airport for over a decade,” said Emmanuel Hunt, a wheelchair attendant for BAGS, an airline subcontractor. “When I started, I was earning $5.23 an hour, ten years later I’m still earning $5.23 an hour. This is no way to live. Every year, the cost of food, gas, and rents go up. How is it possible that a decade later I’m still earning the same?”

“Mayor Gillum and I have been proud to visit Orlando International Airport during this campaign to stand in solidarity with the workers fighting for fair pay and better working conditions,” said Chris King. “Airport workers in Orlando face steep challenges like long hours and low pay and they shouldn’t be in this fight alone. Large economic engines like airports set the standard for how other workers are treated. MCO should be home to good, union jobs that pay family-sustaining wages and serve as an example for employers everywhere.”

At the rally, Orlando Airport workers and community allies will release a new report by 32BJ SEIU, the union representing thousands of subcontracted airline workers, that show the dire situation of those working at MCO. Of those surveyed, 78% earn less than 20,000 a year, 92% do not have paid sick leave, 19% must rely on food stamps to feed their families, and 45% have difficulties paying for housing. A full 38.5% of workers earn $5.25 and $5.23 (the Florida tipped minimum wage), while the median reported weekly tip earnings were just $60. For a wheelchair worker working 40 hours a week at $5.23 an hour, that translates to less than $1200 a month. Furthermore, 34% of those surveyed are Puerto Rican, including those who fled the Island after both the economic crisis and Hurricane Maria.

After the event, the workers will deliver the report to the Greater Orlando Airport Authority (GOAA), a seven-member board that includes members appointed by the Governor, which has the authority to set wages and benefits at the airport. The workers will call on GOAA to raise wages to at least $15 an hour.

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With 163,000 members in eleven states and Washington, D.C., 32BJ SEIU is the largest property service workers union in the country.