Rally Tuesday 2:00 pm PT: Phoenix airport service workers to join farm workers, pilots, flight attendants, elected officials in national day of action amid travel surges, ongoing extreme heat waves
Airport workers nationwide escalate demands for Congress to include ‘Good Jobs for Good Airports’ wage, benefit standards in upcoming FAA Reauthorization
PHOENIX – United Farm Workers president Teresa Romero will be supporting airport service workers at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport (PHX) as they join forces with elected officials, flight attendants, pilots and community allies for a rally at 2:30 pm PT on Tuesday to demand good jobs for the majority Black, brown and immigrant workforce that helps keep airports safe, clean and running.
“If union farm employers can figure out how to keep workers safe from heat while working outdoors in rugged, remote locations, there is absolutely no reason corporations making billions can’t keep their workers safe at the airport,” said Teresa Romero, UFW President. “Good airports should mean good jobs and safe working conditions.”
Tuesday’s rally is part of a national day of action across three of the nation’s busiest travel hubs. Following months of militant worker actions, and a summer of record air travel and heat waves, airport service workers across the country will hold rallies and marches in actions at American Airlines hubs in Charlotte, Dallas-Ft. Worth and Phoenix. They’ll demand Congress step up to ensure good jobs with fair wages, affordable healthcare, and paid time off for the nation’s 300,000 airport service workers.
Tuesday’s actions come on the heels of airport service workers at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport (PHX) filing safety complaints related to extreme heat hazards that workers allege to have had to endure for weeks on end – including lack of access to shade, potable water, and adequate medical care – amid dangerously high temperatures.
It’s just one example of how, across the country, airport service workers have been raising their voices to demand a reckoning across a system built in favor of profit-hungry corporations and major airlines. While many workers from coast to coast have been working in 100+ degree weather without healthcare – often while being paid poverty wages – corporations like American Airlines raked in more than $14 billion in revenue this year as travel surges.
A September 30 deadline is looming for Congress to fund the Federal Aviation Administration – the agency principally responsible for reforming and regulating U.S. air travel. Airlines have always secured a grab-bag of measures to support their operations, and job classes like pilots, air traffic controllers and flight attendants have been included, but FAA Reauthorization has historically left behind the Black, brown and immigrant airport service workforce whose jobs form the foundation of air travel.
Airport service workers are fed up with a decision-making process that takes place behind closed doors and excludes protections for an essential, majority people-of-color-powered workforce. They’re turning their anger into action to demand Congress write airport service workers into the FAA Reauthorization bill by including good jobs with fair wages and affordable benefits.
Until airport service workers have livable wages and basic benefits like access to affordable health care and protection from extreme heat, the travel industry will continue to be plagued by chaos, delays, and dysfunction for workers and travelers alike.
WHO: Airport service workers including cabin cleaners, baggage handlers, and wheelchair attendants joining forces with flight attendants, pilots, farm workers, elected officials and community allies
WHAT: Workers rallying to demand fair wages, affordable healthcare, paid time off through the inclusion of the Good Jobs for Good Airports standards in FAA Reauthorization
WHEN: Tuesday, September 19, 2023 at 2:30 pm PT
WHERE: 44th Street SkyTrain Station, 4300 E Washington St., Phoenix, AZ 85034
The upcoming activity of airport workers demanding to be written into the FAA Reauthorization to raise job standards is the latest in a larger trend of workers across industries seizing their power and coming together to demand better from their employers. This summer hundreds of thousands of workers went on strike or prepared to go on strike. 350,000 UPS drivers won big gains just days before their authorized strike was to begin. 175,000 writers and actors are still out on a multi-month strike, together for the first time in six decades. And workers have been showing unprecedented solidarity, walking each other’s picket lines.
This solidarity doesn’t end with summer. Workers are declaring that Fall will bring even more strikes and worker unrest as they demand to be respected, protected, and paid. This Fall, dubbed #SolidaritySeason, 85,000 Kaiser workers, 150,000 auto workers, 26,000 American Airlines flight attendants, and Southwest pilots are on the brink of striking. Meanwhile, Starbucks workers are demanding their union despite attacks on workers’ rights, airport workers are demanding action from Congress, and fast food workers secured a major victory, raising industry standards in California.
**Jake Knoll, email@example.com for more details or to interview an SEIU worker or leader**