Denver International Airport ground service workers win pay deal

posted on 12th March 2019 by Justin Burns

More than 6,000 baggage handlers, catering workers, cabin cleaners, wheelchair attendants and others have won a $15 an hour minimum wage at Denver International Airport – the USA’s fifth largest airport.

They came together to rally and speak about a living wage and Denver City Council has unanimously passed an ordinance that raises wages to $15 an hour by 2021 for city workers, contractors, and subcontractors working at city facilities like the airport.

Airport workers in SEIU and Unite Here urged City Council to hold airlines accountable to Denver communities. The first raise to $13 an hour will go into effect this 1 July, which is a 17 per cent increase for those paid the minimum wage of $11.10 an hour.

More than 2,000 airport workers in Denver have already joined SEIU and Unite Here.

“The airline industry is reaping record profits, but the workers who serve food for the airlines have been struggling to even survive,” said Unite Here president, D. Taylor.

“That’s why airline workers across North America are rising up. Tonight in Denver, airline catering workers won a living wage for themselves and their communities – and now Unite Here is taking the fight to the bargaining table and to the streets of more cities. One job should be enough.”

Airport workers have been fighting for raises and union rights in the US. Last autumn,, 40,000 airport workers won $19/hour by 2023 in New York and New Jersey and thousands more won $17.50 at SFO. Already this year, pay for Portland passenger service assistants went up to $15 an hour.

Contracted airport workers have won raises at all but one of United Airlines’ hubs. Airport workers in Detroit, Minneapolis, Fort Lauderdale, Orlando, and at George Bush Intercontinental Airport in Houston – the one remaining United Airlines hub – are fighting for $15 an hour and union rights as their movement continues to grow.