Washington, D.C. –Hundreds of contracted service workers at Reagan National Airport and Dulles will walk off the job on strike Thursday, to protest federal labor violations charged against their employer, Huntleigh Corporation, including surveilling, interrogating, arbitrarily disciplining a worker and firing a worker for lawfully protected activities. Just last week, the Metropolitan Washington Airport Authority passed a first-of-its kind policy ensuring contractors pay contracted wheelchair agents, checkpoint agents, terminal cleaners, cabin cleaners, sky caps and baggage handlers $12.75 per hour by 2020. Contracted workers previously earned as little as the minimum wage of $7.25.
As passengers continue to demand better treatment in light of recent scandals, workers demand the same. The strike comes on the heels of the United Airlines incident which has renewed focus on the airline industry and the lengths they go to save money. Long before the outcry over the treatment of United passenger David Dao, airport workers across the country have been sounding alarms on a broken, low-bid subcontracting system—yet another cost-cutting effort by the airlines that undermines quality and standards. Yet, the aviation industry is enjoying record profits of more than $23 billion in 2015 alone.
WHO: Striking Airport Workers at Dulles and Reagan National Airports
Virginia Delegates Alfonso Lopez and Paul Krizek
WHEN & WHERE:
11:00am-12:00pm: Reagan National Airport: Departures: Furthest end of Terminal C
12:30–2:00pm: Dulles International Airport: Main terminal, Center of departures/upper level: Zone 3
This January, 8,000 workers in New York won a union contract after raising state minimum wage to $15. The growing movement of subcontracted airport workers has won similar wage increases at major airports around the country.
This would be the second time these workers have gone on strike against Huntleigh USA Corporation, which is based in Irving, Texas. At Dulles, the company services: American Airlines, Air China, Air Canada, Air France, Austrian Airlines, Saudia, Emirates, Ethiopian, KLM, Korean Air, Lufthansa, Qatar, South African, Avianca, Icelandair, Copa, LATAM Airlines, TACA Airlines, Virgin Atlantic, Virgin America, JetBlue. At DCA Huntleigh airlines include: Jetblue, Virgin America, Southwest, American, Sun Country, Air Canada, Frontier.
With more than 155,000 members in 11 states, including 17,000 in the D.C. Metropolitan Area, 32BJ SEIU is the largest property service workers union in the country.