December 20, 2016
By Doug Cunningham
Workers Independent News
New York, NY – Eight thousand New York/New Jersey airport workers are voting this week to ratify a brand new union contract as members of 32BJ SEIU.
This victory came after five years of organizing struggle. Rob Hill is Vice President of 32 BJ SEIU and directs organizing for the union.
[Rob Hill]: “The approach we took was different that what people would see in normal bargaining because these are subcontracted.
The history of these workers is that these were once good full-time jobs and then the airlines contracted them out. And then by forcing contractors to bid against each other they’ve lowered the wages, because each contractor undercuts the other.
And so the approach we took is that the way we want to raise wages is to get the port authorities – in this case the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey and government to raise the wage for those workers and set a standard that everybody has to bid equally on.
And at the same time we want to protect all that in a contract, which is what we did.”
Hill says is significant for workers all over America because it shows what’s still possible with a strong movement of workers.
[Rob Hill]: “It shows that the Fight For $15 has caught on. And 20 million people have received raises as a result of that fight. And I encourage more people who are workin’ in low-end jobs to get involved in it.
And now we’ve shown that you can also win the union. And the union helps win the wages but it’s also a way to protect your job, to have a voice on the job, to be able to address issues of health and safety – a whole host of issues that workers normally have no voice on – they now have a voice because they have a contract.” To hear the audio click the following link