Unions: Airport employees working in ‘slave conditions’
Via KOMO News: Outsiders verbally came to the rescue Saturday of behind-the-scenes workers at Sea-Tac Airport, demanding union benefits for hundreds of passenger service workers at the airport. Hosea Wilcox is one of those workers, an airport sky cap who is struggling to make ends meet. He’s worked at Sea-Tac for 31 years – and still makes minimum wage.
“We try to do what we can for the passengers, go through little loopholes if we can, if we can,” he says. Simply put, he gets airport travelers where they need to go, on time. “We’re going to do whatever we can for the passenger, above and beyond, with a smile on our face – the human touch,” says Wilcox.
But Wilcox could use a little help himself. After three decades on the job, he says, “I’m struggling; I’m struggling. … It’s tough, real tough.” He says 80 percent of his income is from tips.
It’s not just sky caps but also hundreds more airport workers who are in the same situation – making minimum wage or little more, barely enough to scrape by.
And on Saturday, hundreds of union supporters rallied on their behalf for better pay, health benefits and job security for some 600 employees at the airport. “What kind of power? Union power,” they chanted. “The airport workers are underpaid, basically working in slave conditions,” says union supporter Mia Franklin.
Many at Saturday’s rally do not work at the airport, but support unionization for those who do. “This is the first time that people carrying bags, pushing wheelchairs, cleaning bathrooms are hearing that other people care about them,” says Heather Weiner of the Teamsters Union.
Meanwhile, Wilcox still relies on travelers’ generosity to pay his bills.
Some days they are generous. But others can be fickle. He wishes he had the security of a union wage job. “It gets harder and harder,” he says.
Um, last time I looked this was a free country and this guy, who has been employed there for over 30 years, has the right to leave and look for another job. Why should they be paid more than minimum wage? These are positions that basically require no education and limited skills. Sure, they are physically demanding at times, but that doesn’t guarantee you a high-paying job.
And he wants the security of a union wage job? Well, wouldn’t we all like that! I’m afraid that’s not how the real world works.
Today’s sermon at church was entitled, “The Power of an Invested Life”. The message was to live your life with accountability, utilizing what God has given you. And God entrusts unequally – some are given more talents than others. “To one he gave five talents of money, to another two talents, and to another one talent, each according to his ability.” Matthew 25:15. “We each have been given different gifts, according to the grace given us.” Romans 12:6.
I know the unions would like to believe that every one of their employees deserves better pay than the average worker. But the truth is, some jobs don’t warrant high pay. Therein lies the beauty of the free will we are given to pursue that which does makes us happy and successful in living a productive life.