Los Angeles, CA—In the latest in a string of victories for contracted airport workers, tens of thousands of whom have been sticking together to form unions, win raises, and demand training, the Los Angeles City Council voted unanimously to raise wages for 10,000 LAX workers to a minimum of $17 an hour by July, 2021 and to require airline contractors to provide fully-paid, on-the-job emergency response training to protect the traveling public.
“This victory shows what we can accomplish when we work together and speak with one voice,” said Armando Munoz, a Special Services Agent at LAX. “With the cost of living always going up in our area, its only right that steps be taken so we can continue to work hard serving passengers and keeping travellers safe.”
After pay rises to $17 an hour in 2021, LAX workers will be paid at least $2 above the city's minimum wage in subsequent years. Responding to collective demands from fast-food workers and others, California is raising the wage floor to $15. But having a union is key to further progress. In this year alone, nearly 15,000 airport workers won raises, with many also winning the right to join a union in Chicago, Philadelphia, Washington D.C. Since airport workers began joining together and speaking out, 118,000 have won raises and other improvements across the country.
LAX is the first airport in the country to implement a fully-defined emergency response program to equip thousands of airport workers to respond in cases of extreme weather, active shooters, terrorist attacks and other emergencies. Union LAX workers and the Los Angeles City Council should be applauded for recognizing the critical role that contracted airport workers play in securing the second busiest airport in the nation.
The LAX victory comes after airport security experts, airport workers, and elected officials across the country have been increasing calls for a whole community approach to emergency preparedness, including ensuring that passenger serviceworkers are fully trained and paid liveable wages that will keep experienced workerson the job. According to a recent UC Berkeley report, living wages are strongly linked with higher employee retention and improved airport security.
Denver, Boston Logan, Ft. Lauderdale, O’Hare, and Midway airports all have taken measures to improve wages and airport security in response to mass shootings. Specifically:
· In August in Ft. Lauderdale, a recent report found that 65% of contracted airport workers did not receive emergency training. The report found that a lack of training contributed to the chaos following the shooting earlier this year. Airport workers and elected officials are calling for mandatory training and living wages.
· In late September in Boston, elected officials recently stood with front-line airport workers and announced legislation that would close a security loophole at Boston’s Logan airport.
· In early September in Chicago, the City Council unanimously passed an ordinance that gives nearly 8,000 airport workers a raise, the right to form a union, and emergency preparedness training at O’Hare and Midway.
Contracted airport workers around the country are coming together in Airport Workers United, a movement of employees and their supporters raising their voices for $15 an hour and union rights to make our airports safe and secure for passengers, employees and our communities. By sticking together, speaking out, and going on strike, airport workers have won wage increases in Seattle, Los Angeles, New York City, Newark, Minneapolis, Boston, Philadelphia, Fort Lauderdale, and Miami. Since our movement began, 23,000 workers have joined SEIU and more than 118,000 have received wage increases or other improvements, including healthcare, paid sick leave and worker retention policies.