MAKE 2014 MLK DAY A PAID HOLIDAY AT NEW YORK’S AREA AIRPORTS
Thu, Dec 19, 2013 at 04:30 PM
WORKERS SAY THEY WILL TAKE A STAND FOR MORAL AND ECONOMIC JUSTICE IF BI-STATE AGENCY DOES NOT MAKE JAN. 20, 2014 PAID HOLIDAY
NEW YORK—Hundreds of contracted area airports workers plan to take their complaints about being paid poverty wages without health care benefits, paid sick days and holidays to the headquarters of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey tomorrow and demand a gesture from the agency that it will take their concerns seriously.
That gesture, they say, is to make Martin Luther King Day in 2014, which is Jan. 20, a paid holiday.
Workers say they picked MLK Day 2014 because of its symbolism.
“Dr. King died supporting Memphis sanitation workers who were working under deplorable conditions and making what today would be $11.41 per hour,” Prince Jackson, a security officer at JFK Airport for contractor AirServ, said. “46 years after Dr. King’s death, I earn $8 an hour. Most airport workers earn just $8 per hour. We also work under deplorable conditions. We are here to say Our Issues must be addressed, starting Martin Luther King Day 2014.”
Poor working conditions are creating a crisis at the airports for workers and passengers alike, the workers say. The crisis, they say, is caused by low-bid subcontracting by airlines and terminal operators of security, cleaning and other functions at John F. Kennedy, Newark Liberty International and LaGuardia airports to private contractors who pay poverty wages—significantly less than those directly employed by the airlines and the Port Authority.
Passenger service workers employed by private contractors like Airway Cleaners/Alstate Maintenance, PrimeFlight, AirServ and Aviation Safeguard say they want the paid day off as a gesture that the Port Authority will address their larger concerns about poverty wages and inadequate to non-existent benefits.
WHO: Contracted area airports workers and community supporters
WHAT: Workers to deliver a message to Port Authority Executive Director Patrick Foye at the Port Authority Headquarters
WHEN: 4:30 p.m. on Thursday, December 19th, 2013
WHERE: 225 Park Avenue South (18TH Street), New York, NY