Airport Workers March For Minimum Wage Hike

Date: January 19, 2016

Workers At Nine US Airports Planned Day Of Civil Disobedience To Protest Wages

On Monday, workers at nine US airports including Reagan National Airport in Washington, DC, planned to take part in a day of civil disobedience on Martin Luther King Jr. Day by protesting for increased wages. The Washington Post reported that the airport workers, a mix of fuelers, wheelchair attendants, baggage handlers, and cleaners, were set to “risk arrest at airports and other locations to bring attention to their campaign for better ages, the Service Employees International Union said.” The workers in DC planned “to block a city bridge, march through terminals and protest at an airline headquarters” to highlight their goal of a $15-per-hour minimum wage, along with benefits and other “job protections.” In addition to DC, workers planned protests in Seattle, Portland, Chicago, Miami, Philadelphia, New York City, Newark, and Boston. Head of 32BJ SEIU for the Washington, DC area Jaime Contreras said, “These men and women are calling for real change at all these airports in the hopeful and visionary spirit of Dr. Martin Luther King. We are protesting what we already know is a gross injustice and humiliating working conditions.” Among the planned protests was one outside of United Airlines’ downtown Chicago headquarters. WTOP-FM reported online that airport workers at National Airport “braved the cold and marched down Independence Avenue, blocking traffic to draw attention to the cause.” According to the report, the workers are pushing for “a living wage of $15 an hour from the airport contractors who employ them.” The WUSA-TV website similarly reported, saying “workers who report for duty at Reagan National Airport stopped traffic at 14th Street and Independence Avenue NW to demand a wage increase to $15 an hour and the right to unionize.”

What This Means For Small Businesses

Small businesses want to fairly compensate workers, but groups working to force the government to mandate higher minimum wages are only adding to the pressure small business owners face on wages. Many can ill-afford to increase their capital expenditures without cutting employee hours, or downsizing staff altogether.

Additional Reading

DCist and WMAL-AM also provided coverage online.

Note: this article is intended to keep small business owners up on the latest news. It does not necessarily represent the policy stances of NFIB.

Related Content: Small Business News | Minimum Wage

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