Now, just as in United’s campaign, contracted airport workers are often overlooked, especially when it comes to wages, benefits and the freedom to form a union. While airport workers provided $13.2 billion in profit to the top 6 U.S. carriers last year, they are paid so little that most qualify for public assistance just to cover their families’ basic needs. And while nearly 100 percent of United’s non-managerial and administrative workforces are represented by a union, only 18 percent of its contracted workers—mostly people of color—have that same right.
Almost half of contracted workers are immigrants, more than a third are Latino, and nearly a quarter are African-American. They deserve the right to form a union too.
Airport workers are using their power in numbers to build a strong union and win the good jobs that make family life possible—a roof over our heads, food on our tables, paid time off, and health care. By sticking together and speaking out, they are winning by the tens of thousands. In recent years, nearly 120,000 airport workers have won raises and 25,000 have won a union with SEIU.