"We know the airport and the airlines are making record profits," Aschalew Asabie testified at the Council’s annual oversight hearing for the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority.
Asabie, a utility worker at National Airport -- and member of Unite Here Local 23 -- said that "The airport is always busy, and charges more for water and coffee than any store I can afford to go to on the street inside DC. But working at DC's airport, I make less than the DC minimum wage. None of us expect to be rich working at the airport. But working at the DC airports we deserve the same pay as workers in DC."
Local 23 political director Adam Yalowitz urged the DC Council to support the workers' demand that MWAA raise wages for airport workers, "who are striving to win the same pay that the Council has already ensured all other workers in DC have."
On today’s labor calendar, our guests on today’s edition of Your Rights At Work – 1p here on WPFW – will be Carmen Berkley on yesterday’s women’s strike, and Carlos Jimenez on tomorrow’s immigrant worker rights training session at the AFL-CIO.
Here’s today's labor history:
On this date in 1912, the Westmoreland County Coal Strike began in Pennsylvania. Known as the "Slovak strike" because some 70 percent of the 15,000 strikers were Slovakian immigrants, the strike continued for nearly 16 months before ending in defeat. Sixteen miners and family members were killed during the strike.
In 1933, spurred by President Franklin D. Roosevelt, the U.S. Congress began its 100 days of enacting New Deal legislation. Among the many programs established to help Americans survive the Great Depression was the Civilian Conservation Corps, which put 2.5 million young men on the government payroll to help in national conservation and infrastructure projects.
And in 1974, work began on the $8 billion, 800-mile-long Alaska Oil pipeline connecting oil fields in northern Alaska to the sea port at Valdez. Tens of thousands of people worked on the pipeline, enduring long hours, cold temperatures and brutal conditions. At least 32 died on the job.
Today’s labor quote is by Franklin D. Roosevelt, talking about the New Deal on one of his radio Fireside Chats
“A few timid people, who fear progress, will try to give you new and strange names for what we are doing. Sometimes they will call it ‘Fascism’, sometimes ‘Communism’, sometimes ‘Regimentation’, sometimes ‘Socialism’. But, in so doing, they are trying to make very complex and theoretical something that is really very simple and very practical.”
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