Essential Airport Workers, Councilor Edwards Kicked out of Logan Airport
For Exercising Their Free Speech Rights
Workers & the Councilor Marched Silently Across Terminal A Carrying Empty Platters, Wearing Signs that Read “We Need More than Thanks. Give Us Raises!”
~Ahead of Massport’s Board Meeting Thursday & Thanksgiving travel, Boston Airport Workers Pushed Fight for a Raise, Joined Nation-wide Week of Action~
Boston, MA (Logan Airport) — On Tuesday, November 16 at 7:30AM, after getting off their overnight shift at Logan, dozens of contracted airline workers were joined by Boston City Councilor and Senate candidate Lydia Edwards in a silent march for higher wages ahead of the holiday season and Massport’s last Board meeting of the year this Thursday. The wheelchair attendants, cabin cleaners, janitors—along with Councilor Edwards and Executive Vice President of 32BJ SEIU Roxana Rivera—marched in single file carrying empty platters to symbolize scarcity for Thanksgiving and wearing placards that read: “We Need More than Thanks. Give Us Raises!”
But despite the fact that participants were within their legal rights to peacefully protest, and were walking in silent single file to allow travelers to easily get to their planes, the State Police and Massport stopped them from continuing their march in Terminal B. The airport workers were not deterred in their fight to get a much-needed raise, and boarded a bus together to get back home after a long night’s work, shouting “Yes we can!” and “32BJ!”
“My family desperately needs this wage increase. My brother is dealing with dialysis right now, so I have tons of medical bills I need to handle, and I have two young nieces through my sister who I’m very close to and help support as well. The cost of living has gone up, and it’s really been difficult these past few years due to the pandemic,” said Damen Rose, a Logan Airport worker who lives in Dorchester. “I experienced COVID along with several family members, and I got very sick. It was really terrifying experience, and I’m still trying to catch up financially from that and being out of work for a long period of time.”
“I’m excited to be here today in solidarity with the workers of 32BJ SEIU, who do a thankless job. We really need to come back from this pandemic and pay them what their worth and have a plan for increased wages moving forward. Massport needs to commit to workers, worker safety, and just wages,” said Boston City Councilor Lydia Edwards.
“We’re out here today to send the message to Massport that essential airport workers need a raise now,” said Executive Vice President of 32BJ SEIU Roxana Rivera. “As a majority Black, brown, and immigrant workforce who can’t work from home, these are among those hardest-hit by the pandemic and economic crisis. With travel back up and the five top airlines at Logan having received nearly $50 billion in CARES act funds, it’s time for these workers to be paid what their worth.”
Several contracted airline workers will also testify at Massport’s last board of the year this Thursday, November 18 in what they see as their final chance in 2021 to convince Massport to do the right thing. In October, Councilor Edwards joined them to deliver over 300 postcards to Massport explaining their need for a raise. Massport sent a “thank you” letter to Roxana Rivera nearly three weeks after the postcard delivery, but did not respond to their demand for a wage increase in the letter.
With 175,000 members in eleven states and Washington, D.C., including 19,000 in Massachusetts, 32BJ SEIU is the largest property service workers union in the country.