I’m Verna Montalvo, a cabin cleaner at Dallas Fort Worth International Airport.
Please support the Good Jobs for Good Airports bill introduced by Congress.
It will make air travel safer and it will change many lives, greatly improving airport jobs for future generations.
I’m a mom, a grandmother and I just became a great-grandmother to a beautiful baby girl. I've worked hard my whole life, and I've made a lot of sacrifices to care for my girls. There were days I'd pretend I already ate so they wouldn’t feel bad eating the only food in the house.
I’m getting older. I'd like to retire, spend time with my family, and travel to see the world. But right now, that dream is out of reach.
For years I wanted to work at the airport, but I had no idea how hard it would be.
My job is to clean the cabin after the plane lands, mainly the restrooms, and to conduct safety inspections to make sure nothing dangerous has remained behind. This is all on a tight turnaround time. And while passengers are still deplaning.
I don't get enough time to do my job. It's very stressful thinking about the safety of everyone who's soon to board, and here I am always so rushed. We all just do the best we can.
In addition to the stress, there's very little respect for our work. We make $12.50 an hour with no benefits. Oftentimes I'm even asked to do additional work, like help with translation for Spanish- speaking passengers and workers.
This past March, I joined with other workers at the American Airlines headquarters here in Fort Worth to call on the CEO to make sure all airport jobs are good union jobs, with fair wages and benefits. But he refused to talk to us.
Airlines get billions of our tax dollars—while I have a hard time making ends meet, as if my work isn't important. We all need to be able to come together in a union so we can have the strong voice we need to fight for adequate working conditions ... working conditions that affect the safety and comfort of each and every airline passenger.
This past May 12th, I also rallied in Washington, D.C. to call attention to these problems and to demand decent treatment for airport workers. It was so important for me to be there because I'm not afraid to speak out and because so many of us are struggling.
But we'll keep fighting, and we won’t stop until we win Unions For All!