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Legislators call for investigaton after wage protests, arrests at MSP airport

Thirteen arrests were made Monday during a peaceful protest at the airport over the pay and resources for workers who help travelers with disabilities.

After 13 people were arrested Monday at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport during a protest over conditions and pay for those who help disabled travelers, several DFL state legislators have called for an investigation into the issues.

The protesters were bringing attention to what they say are low wages and a lack of resources for workers who help elderly passengers and those with disabilities get around the airport. To attract attention, some of the dozens of protesters moved into the middle of the drop-off road until police declared it an illegal protest and made the arrests.

The protesters said Delta Airlines’ subcontractors who provide wheelchair and electric carts for passengers are paid “poverty wages” and lack the resources to effectively help those who need help.

Among the 13 arrested was Service Employees International Union Local 26 President Javier Morillo-Alicea.

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Following reports of the arrests, the Legislature’s Transportation Committee chairs, Rep. Frank Hornstein (DFL-Minneapolis) and Sen. Scott Dibble (DFL-Minneapolis), said in a joint statement that they will investigate the issue:

“We are deeply concerned with what we are learning about the conditions for passengers with disabilities and the workers that serve them at the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport. We are actively looking into these deficiencies and will work to ensure our airport is safe, efficient and hospitable for everyone.”

And state Sen. Patricia Torres Ray (DFL-Minneapolis), who represents the airport district, said:

“I hope the Metropolitan Airports Commission and Delta take these concerns seriously. I am ready to support my colleagues as we move through legislative channels to make sure our airport is truly a world-class facility for everyone.”