Typically, it appears like the entire world desires to return to Miami each winter to bask within the solar.

Nonetheless, for airport service staff like me at Miami Worldwide Airport (MIA), it reminds us that we will’t even afford to take time without work once we’re sick, not to mention take pleasure in a day on the seaside with our households.

As a cabin cleaner, my job is to make sure American Airways planes are protected and sanitized for passengers. Taking off work is just not an possibility for me when that point is unpaid, and I’m dwelling paycheck to paycheck. Once I examined optimistic for COVID over the Summer season, I used to be pressured to take time without work to recuperate and shield the general public. As a result of I used to be out of labor for 15 days, my household is falling behind on our payments. On high of getting to pause our mortgage funds for six months, my husband and I at the moment are slicing again on groceries simply to get by.

This sort of monetary insecurity is harmful, and I do know I’m not the one one going by way of it. The air journey trade is powered by a largely Black, brown, and immigrant airport service workforce of greater than 300,000 staff sturdy. Too many people have spent anxious hours debating whether or not we must always present up for work sick or go a day with out pay, or opened up a paycheck that we all know received’t cowl our bills for the month.

Staff like me shouldn’t be on this scenario. We assist preserve our air journey system working by taking up important work cleansing cabins, fueling planes, loading baggage, escorting passengers, offering safety, and extra. It’s onerous work – generally we’ve solely three minutes to scrub a aircraft – but we’re not revered, protected, or paid dwelling wages.

On the identical time, the airways acquired billions in pandemic public funding meant to enhance our air journey system. As a substitute of placing these federal {dollars} to work, airways are raking in report income whereas failing to make sure good jobs for the very staff on the basis of U.S. air journey.

Regardless of our significance to their backside line, airways do every thing they’ll to disclaim us truthful wages and entry to advantages like reasonably priced well being care and paid time without work. Right here in Florida, the airline trade is actively supporting HB 917, a invoice that will make it practically unimaginable for a locality in our state to go or implement legal guidelines that shield staff, guarantee reasonably priced advantages or pay greater minimal wages.

The airline trade, together with American Airways, has a historical past of spending thousands and thousands on lobbying to decrease office requirements or preserve them stagnant. It’s pure company greed that ensures staff like me may receives a commission extra in different jobs, though our work is important for the system, resulting in fixed turnover and understaffing.

As Congress prepares to handle these points with the FAA Reauthorization, I’m calling on U.S. Sens. Rick Scott and Marcio Rubio to face with working folks and write us into the invoice. The Good Jobs for Good Airports nationwide wage and profit requirements would give tens of 1000’s of airport service staff entry to truthful wages, high quality well being care and paid time without work, and we’d like them included within the FAA Reauthorization.

These requirements would change my life. I wouldn’t should stress about paying the payments the following time I get sick and will breathe just a little simpler realizing I can present for my household.

As we method the deadline for Congress to vote on laws included within the Federal Aviation Authority (FAA) Reauthorization invoice, we’d like Congress to acknowledge our work by prioritizing our calls for. What we’re asking for is the naked minimal that working folks in every single place ought to have entry to – truthful wages and needed advantages so we will dwell with out worry.

Now it’s as much as Congress to make these desires a actuality.


Nora Dumenigo is a Miami airport service employee.

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