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Charlotte airport workers march for better pay and working conditions

About 300 airport workers and supporters rallied Tuesday for higher pay and better working conditions.
Steve Harrison
About 300 airport workers and supporters rallied Tuesday for higher pay and better working conditions.

Roughly 300 people marched in support of Charlotte airport workers Tuesday as part of a National Day of Action to raise the pay and improve working conditions for people who work as subcontractors for airlines.

Leading the march were Charlotte workers from Jetstream Ground Services, which is hired by American Airlines to clean the cabins of its jets.

They chanted “Workers united, we’ll never be defeated!” as they marched along Wilkinson Boulevard to the entrance of the airport.

Jetstream employee Avond Johnson said they want higher pay, which is about $14 or $15 an hour. They also want more drinking water and proper air conditioning for all of their break rooms.

“It can get real exhausting, you know,” he said. “You get tired when we get back-to-back planes. We are having to do 20 planes a day and it’s 90, 100 degrees outside.”

Jetstream employees spoke at a recent Charlotte City Council meeting and have delivered a petition to their employer. They say their break room in C concourse doesn’t have good air conditioning. They also say Jetstream doesn’t give them enough water to drink.

Jetstream didn’t respond to questions by WFAE.

In addition to the Charlotte march, there were rallies in Phoenix and Dallas, two other American Airlines hubs.

Jetstream employees in Charlotte recently unionized.

Protesters briefly shut down a turn lane into the airport. Charlotte police said they arrested five people for impeding traffic.

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Steve Harrison is WFAE's politics and government reporter. Prior to joining WFAE, Steve worked at the Charlotte Observer, where he started on the business desk, then covered politics extensively as the Observer’s lead city government reporter. Steve also spent 10 years with the Miami Herald. His work has appeared in The Washington Post, the Sporting News and Sports Illustrated.