Mayors’ Push for Good Airport Jobs Takes Off

Mayors’ Push for Good Airport Jobs Takes Off

At U.S. Conf. of Mayors, Kenney, Levine, Gillum & Vice Mayor Furr to Meet with Airport Workers; Call on Airlines to Respect Skycaps, Wheelchair Attendants, Baggage Handlers’ Right to Organize

New Study Shows Raising Pay at Airports to At Least $15/Hour Would Generate $20 Billion in Economic Activity, Create 22,000 Jobs

MIAMI – At the annual gathering of the U.S. Conference of Mayors, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio and Seattle Mayor Ed Murray will introduce a resolution urging airlines to, “ensure that contracted airport workers are paid a living wage with benefits and freedom to form a union.” Mayors Gillum, Levine, Vice Mayor Burr, and others will attend a town-hall style meeting, where they will hear from airport workers about their abysmal working conditions, low pay and lack of benefits—all while airlines are enjoying a record $13 billion in profits.

WHAT: Mayors to meet with airport workers, introduce resolution in support of better pay and union rights for airport workers. Participants will also discuss a new study showing economic benefit of raising pay for airport workers.

WHO: Mayor Jim Kenney, Gillum, Levine, Vice Mayor Beam Furr, Rocio Saenz, Executive Vice President SEIU, and contracted airline workers from MIA, FLL, and other national airports.

WHEN: Mayors to meet with airport workers on Friday, June 23 at 5pm EST and will introduce the resolution on Saturday, June 24.

WHERE: Eden Roc Miami Beach Resort, Ocean Tower 1A on the Lobby Level
4525 Collins Avenue, Miami Beach, FL 33140

The mayors are highlighting that jobs at the nation’s airports are a striking example of how working-class Americans have lost ground in the modern economy. Four decades ago, most jobs in an airport were good, family-sustaining jobs. Men and women worked directly for the major airlines, which paid a living wage, provided pensions and health care and respected Americans’ right to stick together in a union. Today, most Americans who work at airports are employed by subcontractors that pay low wages, without any benefits and actively suppress workers’ right to form unions. Between 2002 and 2012 outsourcing of baggage porter jobs more than tripled, from 25 percent to 84 percent. Contracted airport workers – the majority of whom are immigrants and people of color – are now paid so little that four in ten go hungry or skip meals.

With gridlock and anti-worker sentiment prevailing in Washington, local electeds are taking it upon themselves to support efforts to raise standards for airport workers who make the airlines run. In 2013, Broward County Commissioners voted to include Fort Lauderdale Airport workers in the County’s Living Wage Ordinance, which gave 2,000 workers almost a $4 an hour raise. However, with the high cost of living in Broward, many workers still can’t make ends meet. Broward Vice Mayor Furr is proposing to raise Living Wage to lift workers out of poverty, stabilize the workforce, and reduce turnover—which will promote safety and security at an airport that was the scene of a horrific shooting earlier this year.

In Miami, airport workers are covered under Miami Dade County’s Living Wage Ordinance, which requires airline contractors to pay workers $12.63 an hour with health benefits that meet certain standards, or $15.52 without health insurance. The County is currently investigating Ultra Aviation, an airline contractor for Avianca, LATAM and others that has forcibly enrolled its workers onto a subpar health insurance plan that does not meet standards, therefore underpaying hundreds of employees almost $3 an hour.

Airport Workers from both MIA and FLL will be on hand to discuss their campaigns and how Mayors and Commissioners can encourage their local airports to become economic engines of good jobs.

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