From today’s The Guardian:
Larry Allen has worked in various jobs at Dallas Fort Worth international airport for over 40 years.
Before the pandemic, Allen worked as a baggage handler, making just over $2 an hour and relying on tips to get by. When Covid-19 hit the US, Allen was told not to come back into work and wasn’t recalled until one year later, when he took a position as a wheelchair agent.
He now makes only $8 an hour, plus tips, but those tips aren’t guaranteed and can vary widely and he relies on social security benefits and Medicare. In his late 60s, Allen walks a few miles every day at work, and at his age worries about the physical toll working in the airport has taken on his body and his ability to eventually retire comfortably.
He is pushing to organize a union among his co-workers at the airport to improve wages, benefits and working conditions.
“We need more money and more respect for the work we do. Eight dollars an hour is just not enough,” said Allen. “A union is an advantage, to get proper wage and insurance so if you get sick, you’ll have some medical coverage, and if something happens, you’ll have somebody to represent you and back you up.”
Allen is one of many airport workers around the US who took part in protest actions last month to pressure government officials at local, state and federal levels, and the CEOs of large airlines, including United, Delta and American Airlines, to sign on to a Good Airports pledge, committing to ensuring airport workers are paid living wages, provided affordable healthcare and have the right to organize a union.
The actions were part of a campaign led by the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) for airport workers to bargain through a union for improved pay, working conditions, healthcare and sick leave.
Read the complete story here.