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Atlanta Airport cleaners win 'major victory in a decade-long push for higher wages'

The SEIU called it a "major victory in a decade-long push for higher wages."

ATLANTA — The cleaners at Atlanta's airport will be making an additional $3.50-$6.50 an hour soon, according their union.

The Service Employees International Union (SEIU) said Thursday that the service workers with Workers United at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport would be seeing an increase from their current $8.50 an hour wages to $12-$15 an hour, depending on the shift.

The SEIU called it a "major victory in a decade-long push for higher wages."

"The win comes as contracted airport workers are gathering in Atlanta and nationwide, calling on Delta, American and United to ensure all airport workers from the curb to the cabin are paid living wages," a release said. "The majority Black, brown and immigrant contracted airport service workforce is calling on CEOs to take action on racial inequities in the airport system and transform airport jobs, which too often trap workers in poverty without crucial benefits, into good union jobs for all workers, no matter their background."

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A cleaner represented by the union, Cynthia Hartfield, said in a statement the pay increase "represents a new dawn for Atlanta Airport cleaners and our families" after "years of surviving on poverty wages."

"For 39 years, I’ve toiled alongside my fellow cleaners every day to help keep the flying public and airline employees clean and safe as they travel the world. It’s about time our wages reflect our essential contributions to this airport and airlines like Delta," Hartfield said.

She added the wage increase was won because workers "came together as one voice to fight for the respect, protection and pay we deserve."

In its release, the SEIU said it was applauding Atlanta Mayor Andre Dickens for his role in securing the pay increase, by "stepping up to heed workers’ longtime demands while recognizing the need for living wages for all airport workers, including baggage handlers, wheelchair assistants and cabin cleaners."

SEIU said airport workers are still aiming to get airline CEOs to "put in writing their commitment to take responsibility for the largely Black, brown and immigrant service workforce and acknowledge the airline has the ability and responsibility to end poverty level jobs and inequity throughout its system."


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