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

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.

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.”

Comments (2)

  1. Submitted by Arnie Hillmann on 06/18/2014 - 11:28 am.

    Poverty Wages

    How disgusting that employers pay “Poverty Wage” in this day and age and then provide no other benefits either. We are short sightedly turning away from strong unions, but it will get serious enough to cause the pendulum to swing.

  2. Submitted by Beth-Ann Bloom on 06/18/2014 - 01:37 pm.

    Keep the airport safe

    MSP airport, as the gateway to our state, should be a safe and welcoming place to all travelers but most especially to passengers with disabilities or older folks who require attention. A stable, well-trained workforce at the airport is key to providing appropriate services for all. Appropriate compensation is needed to ensure that staff is available to meet the needs of Minnesota’s visitors.

    I applaud the actions of the legislators who are willing to step forward on behalf of the people of Minnesota, our guests, and our workers to make sure the airport is accessible to all.

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