More than 6,000 airport workers in Denver are on their way to $15/hour!
For more than two years, airport workers at Denver International Airport (DEN) have come together across racial lines, and gone on strike, rallied and spoken out to elected officials for raises and union rights. Now they have won the backing of Denver Mayor Michael Hancock, who proposed a city ordinance to raise wages to $15 for thousands of workers at public properties throughout the city.
“The current minimum wage makes it impossible to afford the high rent in Denver,” says DEN passenger service agent Mengistu Sewore. “This is why many of my co-workers work two to three jobs to support themselves and their families. One, full-time job should be enough to live in this city. It is simply not. I have even heard of airportworkers having to sleep on benches at the airport between double shifts. I speak for my coworkers who all want to be self-reliant with their finances—we need this increase right away.”
Declaring “wage stagnation is one of the most fundamental equity issues,” Hancock proposed the City Employee and Contractor Minimum Wage ordinance, which will be voted on by the city council in April. The law would cover all city workers, subcontractors, and tenant employees—including more than 6,000 employees at DEN. It will increase pay to $13 on July 1, 2019, $14 on July 1, 2020 and $15 on July 1, 2021. Starting on July 1, 2022 minimum pay will increase annually based on Denver/Boulder CPI-U.
One thousand security officers, janitors and parking attendants at DEN are already members of SEIU Local 105, and have secured higher wages, health care and other benefits. They will continue to fight until every Denver airport worker–no matter what type of work they do–wins a union.