Raising the standard for good working conditions is like a chain reaction. More people will see their work life can be better.

~ Clara Vargas, 32BJ Member, Florida

Airport Workers in Florida and Nationwide Risk Arrest on MLK Day

Posted 1/15/16 | Filed in

FLL and MIA cabin cleaners, wheelchair attendants, ramp workers, and allies to honor Dr. King’s legacy by taking a stand for $15 and union rights

(MIAMI)— In commemoration of Martin Luther King Day, low-wage airport service workers from South Florida, DC, and NYC will join with workers and allies in 10 major cities— including Boston, Chicago, New York City, Newark, Philadelphia, Miami, Washington, DC, Seattle, and Portland— in a large-scale national civil disobedience action. The workers are protesting the gross injustices and inequality that persist at airports across the country, and are calling for change in the hopeful and visionary spirit of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

“We are fighting to build a better future for our families,” said Sandra Smith, a wheelchair attendant and cabin cleaner at FLL airport. “Dr. King once said, ‘When human values are subordinated to blind economic forces, human beings can become human scrap.’ I’m here to let the big airline contractors know that we are not scrap. No matter what language you speak, what color your skin is, or where you come from, companies need to acknowledge us and treat us like human beings.”

The event will take place in front of Eulen America’s U.S. headquarters, an airline contractor for American Airlines, Delta and other, with a record of repeated charges of labor violations and mistreatment of its workers, including allegations of threats, intimidation, and even firing over union activity. Click here for more information on Eulen’s record.

Community allies and contracted airport workers will be risking arrest to protest these abuses, as well as show their commitment to do whatever it takes to win at least $15 and union rights for every airport worker.

Like the striking Memphis, Tenn., sanitation workers who took action nearly fifty years ago, and with whom Dr. King stood at the end of his life, airport workers face inhumane conditions at work and the daily humiliations of poverty.

Despite helping to generate $8 billion dollars in profits for the aviation industry, contracted airport workers are still paid so little that they can’t make ends meet, forcing many of them to rely on public assistance for their basic needs in spite of working full-time jobs.

Following the first-ever national strikes at seven of the country’s busiest hubs in November and a nationwide Thanksgiving fast, these brave men and women—baggage handlers, terminal cleaners, cabin cleaners, skycaps, wheelchair agents, customer service agents, terminal security officers and ramp workers— who keep our airports safe and secure for the traveling public are celebrating Dr. King’s life by continuing his legacy of nonviolent civil disobedience in pursuit of justice and equality.
WHAT:          Nationwide Airport rally and protest followed by civil disobedience.
WHO:            FLL, MIA, DC, and NYC contracted airport workers, Congressional Candidate Alina Valdes, faith leaders, and community groups.

                        **Spanish Speakers will be available***

 

WHEN:           Monday, January 18, 2016 at 11:30am

 

WHERE:         Eulen America Headquarters

                                    7200 NW 19th St #206, Miami (Parking Lot in front of bldg.)

Workers are available for interviews throughout the day.
Contact Ana Tinsly at 646-331-4765 to arrange interviews.
VISUALS:     Posters, hand-written signs, protestors blocking traffic

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Around the country, airport workers are coming together in Airport Workers United, a movement of workers and their allies, raising their voices for $15 and union rights to make our airports safe and secure for passengers, employees and our communities. By sticking together, speaking out for change, and going on strike, these workers have won wage increases in Los Angeles, New York City, Newark, Minneapolis, Boston, Philadelphia, and Fort Lauderdale. Today, more than 70,000 airport workers nationwide have either received wages increases or other improvements, including healthcare, paid sick leave and worker retention policies.
Follow us on Twitter @goodairports

 

 

For More Information

Ana Tinsly, amtinsly @seiu32bj.org, 646-331-4765