Rally to Call on the City to Fix Poverty Jobs (Tuesday, May 15)

Contact: Laurie Couch, (847) 420-5108, couchl@seiu1.org

Paloma Martinez, (832) 493-4839, martinezp@seiu1.org

As city council debates over proposed airport expansion…

Airport Workers and Community Supporters to Rally to Call on the City to Fix Poverty Jobs

Houston—As the debate rages on between airlines, politicians, and community groups over the proposed expansion of Hobby Airport, one group has been largely ignored. Passenger service workers at both Hobby and IAH are paid as little as $12,500 a year—far below the poverty level—with no access to affordable health care. Some workers are even paid below the legal minimum wage. A group of about 50 workers and community members plan to rally at IAH airport tomorrow to call on the city to address the problem of poverty wage jobs in our airport.

Some of the lowest-paid airport workers were employed by PrimeFlight. The Houston Chronicle recently reported that PrimeFlight lost its contract with United after the U.S. Department of Labor launched an investigation on the company for labor violations and it was suspended from the Gulf Coast Workforce Board’s hiring incentive program. On May 15, Airserv officially begins to take over passenger service work from PrimeFlight for United Airlines. And the contractor plans to cut hours and positions.

The current contracting system at the airport incentivizes cutting corners and paying low wages. Without a policy that establishes standards and oversight for airport contractors, these jobs won’t improve. The proposed expansion of Hobby airport could strengthen Houston’s neighborhoods and economy by creating good jobs with benefits. Or, the proposed expansion could result in more low-wage, no-benefit jobs that contribute to poverty, foreclosures, hunger, and blight in our communities. Airport workers say the outcome depends on whether workers’ voices are heard and the problem of poverty wage jobs is tackled as part of the process.

WHAT: Rally for good jobs at Houston’s airports

WHEN: Tomorrow—Tuesday, May 15th

12PM-2PM (best time to come will be between 1-2)

WHERE: Terminal C ticketing level (by the elevators) at IAH

WHO: At least 50 airport workers and community members

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