Airport Contract Workers Protest Around US Over ‘Poverty-Wage Jobs’

Airport Contract Workers Protest Around US Over 'Poverty-Wage Jobs' Airport Contract Workers Protest Around US Over 'Poverty-Wage Jobs' An exterior view of an American Airlines B737 MAX airplane is seen at Dallas-Forth Worth International Airport in Dallas, Texas on Dec. 2, 2020. (Cooper Neill / AFP via Getty)

By Solange Reyner | Wednesday, 30 March 2022 05:08 PM

Airport contract workers protested Wednesday in 20 U.S. cities over poor wages, the Service Employees International Union announced in an open letter to airline CEOs.

The workers include wheelchair agents, cabin cleaners, baggage handlers and security officers, per the letter.

The SEIU in the letter urges CEOs to sign the "Good Sports Pledge," which says airlines:

  • Have the ability and responsibility to end poverty-wage jobs and inequality throughout the system.
  • Ensure the billions of public dollars airlines receive annually serves the public good, not just shareholders and executives.
  • Set a minimum wage and benefit standard guaranteeing all workers are paid living wages and provided affordable, quality healthcare and paid time off.
  • Respect workers' right to join together in a union.
  • Ensure contracts with airport service providers are able to meet living wage and fair benefits standards and encourage contractors to be neutral when workers organize a union.

"We demand to be respected, protected and paid a living wage. We want to THRIVE, not just survive," the letter to the airlines' leaders said.

"You have the power to transform the airline industry so that every airport job can be a good job that sustains families and helps build stronger communities," they added.

Larry Allen, 69, who works as a wheelchair transporter at Dallas Fort-Worth Airport, and makes $8 an hour, told the Dallas Morning News workers "need more money and better benefits.

"I don't see why we can't get paid like the other airline workers."

Per the Morning News, thousands of people who work at DFW are covered by union agreements.

Airport Workers United was also organizing the protest.