Sophia Harris is a Cargo Building Clerk at JFK. Sophia is originally from Jamaica and immigrated to the United States in 2017. Traveling to the U.S. was her first time flying and traveling, and she really enjoyed the experience and wanted to work in the airport.
When Sophia first started at JFK, workers didn’t have a union and didn’t have a voice on the job and there wasn’t very much respect. But that changed as soon as workers came together and joined their union.
Workers immediately noticed an improvement in their jobs and working conditions. Their voices were now heard. They were now respected. They also won wage increases and better healthcare. During the pandemic, because of the union, workers got the safety and cleaning supplies needed to do their jobs and feel protected.
Sophia says that being in a union, you feel protected.
Building off what they have won already, Sophia and her coworkers are fighting for higher wages and job improvements that allow them to live and thrive. It’s hard to live in New York City on the wages she makes right now. Sophia is currently looking for a new apartment but is having trouble finding one she can afford. She told a realtor her annual salary is 30K, and they told her the minimum to rent an apartment is 60K in New York City.
Sophia believes that ALL airport jobs should be good, union jobs that pay workers enough to live, and provide healthcare and the benefits they deserve. Our airports wouldn't function without workers like Sophia and there is no reason that she, or any airport worker, should struggle to survive and afford a place to live.