Hundreds Of Activists, Service Workers Protest At DC Airports


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Ted Goodman Contributor
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Hundreds of activists and contracted airport service workers walked off the job Wednesday at two Washington, D.C.-area airports, as part of the Fight for Fifteen movement.

Airport workers at Dulles International Airport and Reagan National Airport demonstrated in and around the two airports that serve D.C. The demonstrations did not disrupt flights as of noon Wednesday.

“They’re on strike to demand higher standards,” protest organizer Jaime Contreras told local radio station WTOP. “This is something that is very hard for them to do, but they’ve had enough,” Contreras, who is vice president of Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Local 32BJ, said Wednesday.

The employees, who are independent contractors with Huntleigh USA Corp., are demanding an increase in pay. Union officials claim some workers make just over $3 an hour plus tips.

The effort is a part of a larger movement by low-wage workers and union activists to raise the federal minimum wage to $15 per hour. Employees at airports across the country demonstrated in late November for an increase in pay. (RELATED: The Fight For Fifteen Is Coming To America’s Airports)

The Fight for Fifteen movement is under increased pressure after President-elect Donald Trump defeated Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton in November. The Trump is nominating a vocal critic of the Fight for Fifteen movement, Fast Food CEO Andrew Puzder, to head the Department of Labor. (RELATED: Trump Nominates Fight For $15 Critic For Labor Secretary)

Puzder has argued that a drastic increase in the minimum wage would only cost low-wage workers their jobs, as companies would replace them with computers and machines. (RELATED: Fight For $15? McDonald’s To Place Automated Ordering Stations At All US Locations)

The workers are expected to strike for 24 hours, and both airports confirmed that flight operations should not be disrupted by the protests.

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