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32BJ SEIU: Airport Workers Kick Off Holiday Travel Season Protests With LaGuardia Rally

POOR WORKING CONDITIONS, POVERTY WAGES AND LACK OF RESPECT IN THE WORKPLACE FORCING THEIR HANDS, WORKERS SAY

NEW YORK, Nov. 12, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Hundreds of Employees of the largest private contractors at area airports joined a raucous LaGuardia Airport rally to call the public's attention to the prevalence of poverty wages and poor working conditions that they say are creating a crisis for workers and the traveling public at the airports.

"Supporting yourself on $7.90 is hard," Shareeka Elliott, a terminal cleaner for Airway Cleaners at JFK told the crowd. "Supporting yourself and two growing girls is nearly impossible. My take home wage does not begin to cover bills, daycare, and food for me and my daughters. I feel like I'm drowning in debt." 

Americans enter the busiest holiday travel season of the year with a growing sense of crisis at airports as workers complain they are not being heard despite delegations to contractors, terminal operators and airlines at airports.

"These are hard-working men and women doing some of the most vital jobs to keep our airports running smoothly and safely," 32BJ SEIU President Hector Figueroa said. "They should not have to live in poverty to do it. Their families should not have to live without health care because they happen to be working at our airports."

Workers found supporters in city elected leaders, including Manhattan Borough President and City Comptroller-elect Scott Stringer, State Sen. Jose Peralta, City Council Speaker Christine Quinn and others who joined the entire leadership of 32BJ SEIU at the rally.

"If airlines can find the cash for terminal expansions, then surely they can pay an honest, living wage to the hard-working airport employees that help keep the busiest transportation hubs in the nation flying safely and smoothly," Stringer said. "I am proud to stand with the men and women of 32BJ in calling for uniform standards for the fair wages, benefits, and improved working conditions they need and deserve."

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