SEIU National Media,

Issued December 20, 2023

SEIU’s Mary Kay Henry Statement on Federal Aviation Administration Extension

Mary Kay Henry, International President of the 2 million-member Service Employees International Union (SEIU), issued the following statement reacting to the Senate vote to extend FAA:

“Our travel system is at a breaking point. It’s obvious to anyone who travels through or works in a U.S. airport, especially our nation’s 300,000 airport service workers. We need a strong FAA Reauthorization package that centers the working people who make air travel possible, which, in turn, will help increase safety and stability across the system.

“This extension presents an opportunity for Congress to get it right on FAA Reauthorization. At the same time, workers can't wait forever – it's time to get this done and finalize a bill that includes the Good Jobs for Good Airports wage and benefit standards to ensure sustainable wages, affordable healthcare, and paid leave for the Black, brown, and immigrant worker-powered airport service workforce. It costs taxpayers nothing, yet will transform tens of thousands of workers’ lives and have ripple effects that lift up entire communities. These standards will address the chronic turnover that plagues our airports by ensuring airport service jobs are good jobs that workers want to stay in. And importantly, airlines won’t be able to pad their profits by driving down wages and benefits for the workers who help keep them flying.

“You may not always see them, but air travel cannot happen without the service workers who clean and secure cabins, load baggage, escort passengers in wheelchairs, work the tarmac, provide concessions, and more. These workers have bravely raised their voices, gone on strike, and even taken arrest in peaceful protest because their fight for good jobs is urgent. Congress must heed their demands.

“Members of Congress will soon have a choice: to support working people, as so many claim to do, or leave them behind. We’re fed up and fired up, and we’ve waited long enough for good jobs. It’s time to write airport service workers into FAA Reauthorization and ensure the blue collar workers who serve as the foundation of our air travel system get the respect and fair wages they need to thrive.”