Virginia Reps Don Beyer & Gerry Connolly to Join Congressional Delegation in Call for Better Jobs at Nation’s Airports, Including Reagan National Airport

Virginia Reps Don Beyer & Gerry Connolly to Join Congressional Delegation in Call for Better Jobs at Nation’s Airports, Including Reagan National Airport

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Rep. Beyer (D-VA) and Gerry Connolly (D-VA) will join U.S. Senators Schumer (D-NY) and Bob Brady, Jr (D-PA) and U.S. Rep Alcee Hastings (D-FL) in a call for better jobs for airline-contracted workers from their home districts, at a press conference this morning. In a letter, SEIU-endorsed Presidential candidate, Hillary Clinton pledged her support for airport workers, thousands of whom are on strike today at seven airports, excluding Reagan National Airport.

“It’s unacceptable that airline contracted workers, who keep travelers safe and our airports running smoothly, can be excluded from a living wage, said Congressman Connolly.” “These companies can and must do better by investing in working families and our economy.”

DCA workers, many who juggle multiple airport jobs earn as little as $6.75-8/hr, recently joined the nationwide fight for a minimum of $15/hr, a union and improved training. The event will include a DCA worker as well as striking airport workers from Fort Lauderdale, JFK and Philly. Last month, D.C. Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton and Plymouth United Congregational Church pastor, Rev. Graylan Hagler pledged support at a rally inside DCA with hundreds of airport workers from across the nation.

“The public needs to know that workers are suffering, I feel degraded,” said David Tucker, a father of seven, who’s had to rely on Catholic Charities for food. In 1962, David Tucker started working at DCA National Airport, earning $1.75/hr with employer-paid family health care, paid sick leave and paid vacation. Today, 53 years later, Tucker receives no employer-paid benefits whatsoever and earns just $3.77/hr plus tips that don’t always come.

DCA’s contracted airport service workers are excluded from the airport’s living wage law and are overwhelmingly African and Latino immigrants and African-Americans. They’re baggage handlers, sky caps, wheelchair attendants, cabin cleaners, ramp workers, passenger assistance representatives, check-point screeners, fuelers, and security officers.

Today’s strike includes ramp workers, baggage handlers, wheelchair attendants, security officers, cabin cleaners, terminal cleaners and passenger service workers who service 393 million passengers a year at major airports including Boston, New York City, Newark, Philadelphia, Chicago, and Fort Lauderdale. They are striking for their families, in protest against their employers interfering with the workers’ protected right to join together to demand a $15 hourly wage and a safe workplace.

Workers are on strike today to protest against the illegal attempts by low-road contractors to bully into silence those workers who speak up for change in the workplace. Today’s strikes are part of a commitment by contracted airport workers nationwide to stand together and do whatever it takes to ensure every airport worker wins $15 and union rights. By marching, protesting, and striking at local airports, 45,000 airport workers have already won wage increases and other improvements including healthcare, paid sick leave and worker retention policies.

According to Airports Council International-North America, $1.2 trillion of the annual US  economy is linked to the operation of US airports with more than 1.3 million Americans employed at airports and an additional 10.5 million US jobs supported by economic activity generated by airports.  With more than 145,000 members in 11 states, including 17,000 in the D.C. Metropolitan Area, 32BJ SEIU is the largest property service workers union in the country.

 

With more than 145,000 members in 11 states, including 17,000 in the D.C. Metropolitan Area, 32BJ SEIU is the largest property service workers union in the country.

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