Published On: Mon, Jan 18th, 2016

Airport workers evoke MLK, rally and march for higher wages

Airport workers rallied with their supporters and then marched to LaGuardia Airport where they will hold a civil disobedience. Airport workers around the country will hold similar actions at 10 major airports around the country.

From their press release: In commemoration of Martin Luther King Day, low-wage airport workers at LaGuardia Airport will join with workers and allies in 10 major cities— including Boston, Chicago, New York City, Newark, Philadelphia, Miami, Washington, DC, Seattle, and Portland— in a large-scale national civil disobedience action. The workers are protesting the gross injustices and inequality that persist at airports across the country, and are calling for change in the hopeful and visionary spirit of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

 photo Progress Ohio via Flickr

photo Progress Ohio via Flickr

During the 1963 march on Washington DC, Dr. King and the movement he led demanded $2 an hour minimum wage. Adjusted for inflation using the BLS calculator, that $2 amounts to $15.51 an hour today. Airport workers and other low wage workers are continuing MLK’s legacy by also calling for $15 today. Contracted airport workers and their allies will be risking arrest as part of their commitment to do whatever it takes to win at least $15 and union rights for every airport worker.

Like the striking Memphis, Tenn., sanitation workers who took action nearly fifty years ago, and with whom Dr. King stood at the end of his life, airport workers face inhumane conditions at work and the daily humiliations of poverty.

Despite helping to generate $8 billion dollars in profits for the aviation industry, contracted airport workers are still paid so little that they can’t make ends meet, forcing many of them to rely on public assistance for their basic needs in spite of working full-time jobs.

Following the first-ever national strikes at seven of the country’s busiest hubs in November and a nationwide Thanksgiving fast, these brave men and women—baggage handlers, terminal cleaners, cabin cleaners, skycaps, wheelchair agents, customer service agents, terminal security officers and ramp workers— who keep our airports safe and secure for the traveling public are celebrating Dr. King’s life by continuing his legacy of nonviolent civil disobedience in pursuit of justice and equality.


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