32BJ of SERVICE EMPLOYEES INTERNATIONAL UNION
July 6, 2023
Pittsburgh Airport Service Workers Join Congress Members Summer Lee and Chris Deluzio, 32BJ Members, Allies, and Others for Roundtable Discussion
Pittsburgh airport workers and elected officials will discuss labor trends at airports and need for Congress to include ‘Good Job for Good Airports Act’ national wage and benefit standards in upcoming FAA Reauthorization
Pittsburgh, PA – Today, July 6, at Pittsburgh (PIT) Airport workers, Congress Members Summer Lee and Chris Deluzio, Alleghany County Council Member Bethany Hallam, allies, and 32BJ SEIU members hosted a roundtable regarding labor trends in the airport industry, workers’ rights, creating safe and secure airports, and the need for Congress to include Good Job for Good Airports Act wage and benefit standards in upcoming FAA Reauthorization.
“I’ve been on the job for two months, but in those 60 days, I have seen so much turnover!” said PIT airport wheelchair attendant Andre Coles. “But when you look at our low salaries and non-existent benefits package, it’s no surprise that there’s a revolving door at my job. We have low wages and bad to nonexistent benefits. You can’t plan a life around that. You can barely think about the next week. Congress can change that by passing the Good Jobs, Good Airports Act, which will finally establish rules and standards for all our nation’s airports. It’s time for Washington to treat us like the essential workers we have always been.”
“Between being short-staffed and overworked, almost every day feels like a ‘chaotic’ holiday travel day for airport service workers like me,” said SEIU 32BJ member and airport window cleaner Debbie Speece. “And, of course, no matter how much we need to clean and how few of us there are to do the job, our bosses expect us always to go above and beyond. But I can’t imagine facing these challenges without my union card. It’s because of my 32BJ SEIU contract that I make a family-sustaining wage. It’s because of my union card that I have access to high-quality and affordable health insurance. And that access allows me to treat my and my husband’s diabetes and high blood pressure. But I want all airport service workers to enjoy the peace of mind my union card provides. The best way to do that is for Congress to enact the Good Jobs Good Airports Act now.”
The roundtable, led by Pittsburgh airport service workers (including terminal, cabin, gate, ramp agents, terminal cleaners as well as wheelchair attendants), followed a month of escalation with actions in 20 cities to demand Congress take action to include ‘Good Jobs for Good Airports’ Act wage and benefit standards in upcoming FAA Reauthorization to ensure airport service jobs in publicly-funded airports have wage and benefit standards, stabilize the workforce, keep airports safe and secure, and travelers moving on time.
“Anyone who listens to the hardships and challenging working conditions that our airport service workers grapple with every day could have no other conclusion than to demand our federal government take action by immediately passing the Good Jobs Good Airports Act,” said Allegheny County Council Member Bethany Hallam. “I intend to use every lever of power available to me as an elected official to do just that. That’s why I am introducing a resolution supporting airport workers and the national wage and benefit standards as included in this vital piece of legislation. The bottom line is that airport service workers have kept the nation’s transit hubs alive through unprecedented crises. That sacrifice alone demands much more from the federal government than the label of ‘essential worker.’
“Today’s discussion made clear that whether they carry a union card or not, all airport service workers face high turnover rates and staffing shortages because corporations refuse to provide living wages and essential benefits. None of these ‘savings’ trickle down to your average traveler who has contended with a chaotic summer season and skyrocketing prices,” said Sam Williamson, SEIU 32BJ Western Pennsylvania District Leader. “Hearing from the workers that make air travel possible, the elected officials who make policy, and the labor leaders who advocate for workers’ rights, we came to a simple solution to the issues facing the airport industry. The ‘Good Jobs for Good Airports Act’s national wage and benefit standards need to be included in the FAA Reauthorization so that every airport worker can thrive.”
**Email firstname.lastname@example.org or call (347) 515-4386 for more details or to interview a 32BJ SEIU worker or leader**
32BJ SEIU is the largest property service workers union in the country, representing 175,000 members in 12 states.