“Just as airplanes don’t fly without pilots, our aviation system at airports would crash without airport service workers”
Airport service workers rallied in Washington, D.C., Thursday to demand Congress pass legislation ensuring they receive a livable wage with stronger benefits.
The Good Jobs for Good Airports Act would set national wage and benefit standards, including guaranteed sick days, for service workers at any airport receiving federal funding.
Sen. Ed Markey, D-Mass., told the crowd airport service workers showed up throughout the pandemic, and are long overdue for a raise.
“Just as airplanes don’t fly without pilots, our aviation system at airports would crash without airport service workers,” Markey stated.
According to the Transportation Security Administration, 2.5 million people passed through America’s airports the Sunday after Thanksgiving, the highest single-day figure since the start of the pandemic.
Studies have shown fairly compensating airport service workers with a living wage and benefits improves airport services by lowering turnover and ensuring airports have an experienced workforce to respond to emergencies.
Rep. Jesus “Chuy” Garcia, D-Ill., said the federal legislation would greatly benefit a largely Latino, Black and immigrant workforce.
“Working people are the engines of our economy,” Garcia asserted. “They’re rising up to demand dignity and compensation that they deserve for their labor.”
Garcia pointed out workers in airports have faced worsening conditions for years, as the airline industry has steadily cut benefits for wheelchair attendants, baggage handlers and caterers.
Members of the Service Employees International Union Local 32BJ rallied at more than 15 airports across the country Thursday in support of the legislation, and some non-unionized service workers at Boston’s Logan International Airport held a one-day strike over alleged wage theft and unfair labor practices.
Kathryn Carley began her career in community radio, and is happy to be back, covering the New England region for Public News Service. Getting her start at KFAI in Minneapolis, Carley graduated from the University of Minnesota and then worked as a reporter for Minnesota Public Radio, focusing on energy and agriculture. Moving to Washington, D.C., she filed stories for The Pacifica Network News and The Pacifica Report. Later Carley worked as News Host for New York Public Radio, WNYC as well as Co-Anchor for Newsweek’s long running radio program, Newsweek on Air. Carley also served as News Anchor for New York Times Radio. She now lives near Boston, MA.