Washington, D.C. — Airport service workers announced Tuesday that they will unite on Capitol Hill on December 8, joining airport service workers from more than 15 airports across the country in a national day of action. They’ll be joined by Members of Congress, including U.S. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, U.S. Senator Ed Markey (MA), U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal (CT), Congressman Jesús “Chuy” García (IL-04), Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton (DC), as well as SEIU International President Mary Kay Henry and other allies.
Workers who clean planes, handle baggage, assist wheelchair passengers and more will demand their members of Congress take action to pass the Good Jobs for Good Airports Act, which will ensure airport service workers have a living wage, benefits and health care. Nationwide activity is planned at airports controlling 45% of all U.S. domestic air travel and 65% of all U.S. travel through major hubs.
“Airport workers like me and working people all across the economy are fed up. Without us, no one could travel safely to visit their families over the holidays. Seeing smiles on passengers’ faces gives me a huge sense of pride, but it comes at a huge cost when I can’t support my own family on poverty wages. Airports connect all of us – and it’s time that jobs for those of us who keep airports safe, clean and functioning are good jobs you can actually thrive on. Congress must step up and pass the Good Jobs for Good Airports Act,” said Verna Montalvo, a cabin cleaner at Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport organizing with SEIU.
Airport service workers in D.C. and beyond will be joined by elected officials, labor leaders and community allies in front of the U.S. Capitol Building. Together, they will call for a safe and stable workplace, a voice on the job and the pay needed to create a bright and healthy future for their families.
Their efforts will be met by rallies, marches and public activity from coast to coast, where airport workers are uniting to demand action to ensure a fair shot at a good life for the airport service workers who keep our airports safe, clean and running. Workers will also boldly 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 affordable healthcare, paid leave, safe working conditions or guaranteed 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.
The Good Jobs for Good Airports Act will ensure airport service jobs within our publicly-funded airports have established wage and benefit standards that will help stabilize the workforce, keeping airports secure and travelers on time.
“Airport service workers are vital to keeping our world connected, our airports running, and passengers safe. For nearly three years they’ve sacrificed their health as essential workers, only to be treated as anything but. Now, airport workers are seizing their power alongside working people across the economy – from Starbucks to Amazon, fast-food to home care and beyond – to demand more from their employers and elected officials. Congress must back their demands and pass the Good Jobs for Good Airports Act, ensuring every airport worker across race, background and ZIP code can build a brighter future for their family,” said Mary Kay Henry, President of Service Employees International Union (SEIU).