During the first weeks of 2018, subcontracted service staff at Virginia’s Reagan National and Dulles International airports got a raise. So did baggage handlers, cabin cleaners, and wheelchair attendants at Boston’s Logan airport, who also staged a 36-hour strike to defend their right to organize.
Soon, under laws passed last year, workers at other airports across the country, from Chicago to Los Angeles, will be getting wage bumps, too.
Airport employees have been mobilizing for higher pay and collective bargaining, gaining traction at a time when unions have been struggling. This month, passenger service workers at an American Airlines subsidiary, now represented by the Communications Workers of America, drew support from 81 members of Congress in their fight for a first-ever contract. Thousands of United’s catering workers petitioned last month to join the hospitality union Unite Here. And on Thursday, employees at New York’s three major airports—Newark-Liberty, LaGuardia, and JFK—who a few years ago joined the Service Employees International Union, will testify before the Port Authority of New York & New Jersey (which oversees the airports) in support of higher wages and better benefits.
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