Airport workers have a big announcement: On October 2, airport workers at 40 airports in 13 countries are coming together to take on the airlines that are trying to hold us back. We are fed up with airlines like United driving our wages down and their profits up.
I’m a Wheelchair Attendant and Security Officer at O’Hare International Airport in Chicago. I see immigrants from all over the world who had prestigious jobs back home. Now they’re here pushing wheelchairs for low pay and no benefits or time off. They deserve better. We all do.
We make these airports run and no matter where we come from or the color of our skin, we need to be able to live.
This story of airport workers struggling on low pay is playing out at airports around the world. This summer, I went to Amsterdam to meet with airport workers and activists from Korea, Indonesia, Thailand, Germany, and the Netherlands. I was amazed by the diversity in my fellow airport workers. I was encouraged by their successes andshocked by their hardships. I cannot believe that Thai airport workers are only paid $10 a day and Indonesian workers are paid about $1.50/hour. We’re all serving passengers of the same profitable airlines.
That day, we pledged to stand up for each other around the world to win fair pay and union rights.We know we can improve our lives when we come together across our differences because in many cities, we already have.
In Chicago, we’ve come a long way. We stood together from all walks of life and we formed our union. Now as many as 8,000 people will be able to pay their bills a little easier. But when these injustices are still happening, we can’t stand by while other airport workers suffer here in the U.S. or anywhere. We are up against the same multi-billion dollar airlines who will stop at nothing to keep pushing the wages lower and lower.
We’re going to show the airlines that our power is global.We are the ones who secure the planes, clean the terminals, and help passengers get to their destination.
If it wasn’t for us, these airports would be shut down.
Back in Amsterdam, it put a smile on my face seeing so many people withthis amazing will to fight corporate greed for airport workers throughout the world. It is not just me and my coworkers in the U.S, there are so many of us around the world fighting for justice and worker rights. That gives me hope.