Airport service workers—including cleaners, wheelchair agents, baggage handlers, ticketing agents, caterers, concessions workers, passenger service agents, and lounge workers—are at a breaking point. Although they have provided essential services throughout the pandemic and are supporting the safe return to normalized travel, these workers are typically paid substandard wages and receive few benefits. Now, airport workers across the United States are calling on Congress to require major airports—which receive billions of dollars in federal support every year—to ensure that passenger air travel employers provide good jobs with the family-sustaining compensation necessary to maintain their health and well-being. Doing so would improve the lives of these essential workers; boost equity in a federally supported sector; and support safe and efficient airport services across the country.
U.S. airport workers face many of the same challenges plaguing Americans across the economy, such as growing inequality, occupational segregation, and inadequate compensation. However, for airport service workers, these problems are compounded by subsidized industry employers—including airlines, airports, and contractors—that have drastically cut wages and benefits in recent decades.
The above excerpt was originally published in the Center for American Progress.
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