Warren, Sanders back airline food workers threatening to strike
Democratic presidential candidate hopeful Elizabeth Warren said Tuesday at Reagan National Airport that the fight before the airline workers will be difficult but possible if they do it together. Photo by Ken Cedeno UPI |
Democratic presidential hopeful and U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders tells airline catering workers to the answer to their low wages should be simple based on the profits their companies make. Photo by Ken Cedeno/UPI |
Democratic presidential candidate hopeful Elizabeth Warren speaks airline workers demanding better pay and benefits at Reagan National Airport on Tuesday. Photo by Ken Cedeno UPI |
At Reagan National Airport Tuesday night in Arlington, Va., the leading candidates in the Democratic primary threw their support behind hundreds of union workers chanting “one job should be enough.”
“This is a fight not just for workers here,” said Warren, D-Mass., to the assembled crowd. “This is a fight for all of America. It is a fight for fair wages. It is a fight for healthcare. It is a fight for dignity.”
Last month, more than 11,000 airline catering workers voted to strike for a minimum of $15 an hour and better healthcare coverage. However, they can’t walk off their jobs until the strike is approved by the National Mediation Board following a 30-day cooling-off period.
While the rally was centered on food workers, several unions including the Air Line Pilots Association of America, the Association of Flight Attendants and the United Brotherhood of Carpenters joined in the rally, the Washington Business Journal reported.
Sanders, I-Vt., who is an ardent supporter of unions, told the crowd that the issue is simple, especially when corporate profits are at record highs.
“We say to Sky Chefs, we say to Gate Gourmet, we say to American Airlines, pay your workers living wages and provide decent healthcare,” he said during the rally.
Warren said the fight ahead them will be difficult, but through unions, it will be possible.
“We have an uphill battle but if we fight side to side, brother and sister together then we will win,” she said. “We will win for our families and the workers across the country.”
Unite Here, the union that organized the rally, announced Friday that Sanders and Warren were to attend the event with Reps. Rashida Tlaib, Rosa DeLauro and Eleanor Homes Norton, among others, stating they would attend.
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, who is also running to be the Democrats‘ presidential candidate in the 2020 election, made an appearance during the event and chided American Airlines for the wages it pays its workers while making billions in profit a year.
“I think American Airlines is doing pretty well right now, don’t you?” he asked the crowd. “Are they sharing that with the people? … Didn’t we learn in kindergarten to share with others?”