The US Service Employees International Union (SEIU) has announced that more than 6,000 workers at Denver International Airport (DEN) will receive $15 an hour by 2021.
This came after staff from the nation’s fifth largest airport rallied together to speak out for a fair living wage.
Mayor, Michael Hancock, and Denver City Council unanimously passed an ordinance that will raise wages for the city’s contractors, and subcontractors – including baggage handlers, catering workers, cabin cleaners, wheelchair attendants and others staff at the airport.
SEIU and UNITE HERE urged City Council to hold airlines accountable. The first raise to $13 an hour will go into effect July 1, 2019, which is a 17 percent increase for those paid the minimum wage.
Tagelsir Mohamed, DEN wheelchair agent and security officer at Denver Airport, said: “Once I earn $15, I will be able to work one job.” Mohamed adds that he will be able to help his daughters pay for college and spend to spend more time with family.
More than 2,000 airport workers in Denver have already joined SEIU and UNITE HERE and thousands more are vowing to keep speaking out until they win the freedom to form a union so they can collectively negotiate over job security, healthcare, and paid time-off.
Airport workers have been fighting for—and winning—raises and union rights across the country. In 2018, 40,000 airport workers won $19 an hour to be implemented by 2023 in New York and New Jersey and thousands more won $17.50 at SFO. Already this year, pay for Portland passenger service assistants went up to $15 an hour.
Contracted airport workers have won raises at all but one of United Airlines US hubs. Inspired by these successes, airport workers in Detroit, Minneapolis, Fort Lauderdale, Orlando, and at George Bush Intercontinental Airport in Houston—the one remaining United Airlines hub—are fighting for $15 an hour and union rights as the movement continues to grow.