"The Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority has the power to make airline contractors pay a living wage," said Virginia Delegate Jennifer Boysco at a mid-afternoon rally at National Airport.
"If Virginia is to continue moving forward, we can't leave airport workers behind," added Delegate Alfonso Lopez. And Reverend Graylan Hagler called on the airports to "have a backbone and meet a standard of dignity and respect."
The mostly-immigrant workers also paid a moving tribute to their home countries struggling with war and famine, raising their crossed arms in support.
"32BJ! When we fight, we win!" the workers chanted in the historic Terminal A lobby before marching silently through the airport to deliver a letter to the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority signed over by over 1,000 contracted wheelchair attendants, skycaps, baggage handlers, checkpoint agents and cabin cleaners, some of whom earn as little as $6 an hour.
Read more on our website at dclabor.org, where you can also find out about the latest local labor events and actions by clicking on Calendar.
Here’s today's labor history:
On this date in 1945, more than 43,000 oil workers struck in 20 states, part of the post-war strike wave.
In 2004, a player lockout by the National Hockey League began, leading to cancellation of what would have been the league’s 88th season. The lockout, over owner demands that salaries be capped, lasted 310 days.
And in 2004, the Farm Labor Organizing Committee won a signed contract with the Mount Olive Pickle Company and growers, ending a 5-year boycott. The agreement marked the first time an American labor union represented guest workers.
Today’s labor quote is by Richard Trumka
“There is nothing stronger than the American labor movement. United, we cannot and we will not be turned aside. We'll work for it, sisters and brothers. We'll stand for it. Together. Each of us. To bring out the best in America. To bring out the best in ourselves, and each other.”
Richard Trumka was elected president of the AFL-CIO at the federation’s convention in Pittsburgh on this date in 2009. He had served as the secretary-treasurer under predecessor John Sweeney from 1995 to 2009, and prior to that was president of the United Mine Workers for 13 years.