(MIAMI, FL) — Congressional candidate Donna Shalala, joined wheelchair attendants, baggage handlers, security officers, concessions workers, and others at a protest and picket at the Miami International Airport on Tuesday, October 2, at 10:30 am. They called for fair wages, union rights, paid sick leave, and safe workplaces. The event was held as part of a global day of action with protests taking place at 40 airports in 13 countries and organized by the Miami Airport Coalition (MAC), a coalition of unions representing over 10,000 airport workers.
Donna Shalala, candidate for Congress for District 27, was accompanied by State Representative Javier Fernandez, Mary Barzee Flores and Debbie Mucarsel-Powell, Democratic candidate for Florida’s 25th and 26th congressional districts respectively, David Perez, Vice President of the Firefighters Association for the 6th District, 32BJ SEIU, UNITE HERE, CWA, Teamsters, TWU, South Florida AFL-CIO and Miami airport workers.
The airline industry is projected to profit $38.4 billion in 2018, while workers are struggling with low wages, wage theft, unfair scheduling, too few hours, no benefits, and bad working conditions. In Miami, a recent survey by 32BJ SEIU found 34% of worker households of a family of four are living below the federal poverty level, half of their income is spent on housing alone, and almost 70% have no paid sick leave.
“Working families are under attack by the Trump Administration and its enablers, who are looking to reverse the gains that workers have made throughout the years,” said Donna Shalala. “It is therefore crucial that leaders, from the local level up to the federal level, support workers’ organizing efforts. Whether it be marching in a picket line, passing local laws to improve wages and benefits, or simply using our platforms, we must use every tool to ensure that hard-working Americans get a shot at the middle class.”
“In city after city all across the country, airport workers have won raises—doubling their income in some cities—and the right to form a union,” says Mary Kay Henry, President of Service Employees International Union (SEIU).
Donna E. Shalala has spent her entire life fighting to improve the lives of others. A lifelong Democrat, and the former president of the University of Miami, she has advocated tirelessly for women’s rights, civil rights, increased access to health care, better education and schools and a clean, sustainable environment. She is the longest serving HHS Secretary in U.S. history. Donna has lived in Pinecrest and Coral Gables for 17 years and is unapologetic in her love for South Florida’s natural beauty, its rich culture and its diverse people.