DC Mayor Muriel Bowser Urges Region’s Airport Authority to Ensure Contracted Airport Workers Earn $15 per hour by 2022


For more information:

Julie Karant: jkarant@seiu32bj.org; 646-584-9001

MWAA will vote on DCA and Dulles wage policy on December 18

Washington, D.C. – D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser is urging the Metropolitan Washington Airport Authority to ensure contracted workers at Reagan National Airport and Washington Dulles International Airport reach $15 per hour by 2022. On December 18, MWAA board members will hold a vote to determine wages for over 6,000 contracted baggage handlers, wheelchair attendants, lobby agents, skycaps and cabin cleaners among others.

The Mayor’s letter reads: “Fighting for a fair, living wage for Washingtonians has been one of my top priorities since taking office. On July 1, 2020, the minimum wage in Washington, DC will rise to $15 an hour, making our city more equitable for workers and putting more residents on a pathway to the middle class. As the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority (MWAA) meets this month to determine the timeline for higher wages for airport workers, I am hopeful the Board can similarly reach a consensus on raising the wage to $15 an hour by 2022 for all workers and begin to include this higher wage as a contract requirement for all concessionaires.

“Our airport workers are vital to trade and tourism for our region and guaranteeing safe and enjoyable travel for the more than 22 million people who visit the nation’s capital every year. It is critical that we provide at least $15 an hour wage for all of our airport workers by 2022 to ensure our hardworking residents are better able to support their families and continue to strengthen our thriving local economy. Fairly compensating our airline workers is not only the right thing to do; it will benefit our region and all who use MWAA’s world-class airports”

Workers at many East Coast airports already earn $15 or more. Last week, 16 Virginia Delegates also sent MWAA a letter to on behalf of the workers. “We believe that this wage level is critical to improving public safety and to maintaining the robust economic benefits that airports provide to our state. MWAA’s current policy has already had a significant impact on decreasing employee turnover. However, turnover levels remain unacceptably high.  As the cost of living in Virginia and the D.C. metro area continues to rise, a wage increase policy that does not recognize the fact that these airport workers are barely surviving at the margins means that they will be left even further behind.”

Among the workers’ high-profile supporters who have come to the airports on their behalf are actor and anti-poverty activist, Danny Glover, DNC Chairman and former U.S. Secretary of Labor Tom Perez, Virginia Congressmen Gerry Connolly and Don Beyer, D.C. Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton and dozens of Virginia Delegates including Alphonso Lopez and Jennifer Boysko. They also had the support of U.S. Secretary of State and presidential candidate Hillary Clinton.

With more than 173,000 members in 11 states, including 20,000 in the D.C. Metropolitan Area, 32BJ SEIU is the largest property service workers union in the country.

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