Airport Worker Rights – Beginnings of Moral Monday


Organizing for better working conditions doesn’t just happen over-night. Successful campaigns take years of base building work that eventually turns into the visible campaign to pressure public officials for support. In this week’s program we focus on two campaigns that started small and have grown large. First, we talk with of two LaGuardia Airport’s baggage handlers together with a  Communications Specialist from 32 BJ SEIU,  about  ongoing activity to improve working conditions in the airports, for low wage workers. Next, we hear about the history of “Moral Monday” from North Carolina NAACP President, Reverend William Barber, who will preview his address to the  Long Island  community on February 18th, at Stony Brook University. Stony Brook Economics Professor Michael Zweig, who extended the invitation to Reverend Barber, is certain the  Reverend’s message will resonate on Long Island.

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Airport Workers’ Rights

Airport WorkersAirports play a vital role in both business and tourism for New York.  But airport workers, typified by the baggage handlers, do not share in the bounty of this booming and profitable industry. We talk to two baggage handlers from LaGuardia Airport, who describe what it is like to work for two of the sub-contractors that pay sub-par wages.  The Port Authority recently announced that the employees will receive some raises, but these workers make clear that much more is needed and the promised raises are not enough. Amity Paye, a communications specialist for Local 32 BJ SEIU, presents us with the findings of two detailed reports which illustrate airport work can be quite physically detrimental to workers.  Years ago such workers worked directly for the airlines and were union members who made a decent wage. Now reduced to working for the sub-contractors, the workers want to be represented by 32 BJ. Needless to say, they are getting strong resistance from the management at these various subcontractors. They intend to push forward and prevail.

#Airport workers are pushing for a Union because #PovertyDoesntFly and @32BJ_SEIU is helping them Tweet this

The Creation of “Moral Mondays”

Rev Barber Moral MondaysReverend William Barber’s view of Christianity is steeped in the social and labor activism of Reverend Martin Luther King, a seminal figure in the American Civil Rights movement.  When Reverend Barber first demonstrated at the North Carolina State House to protest anti-worker legislation, he likely did not envision that he would spark a movement. Yet he did!  Years later, “Moral Monday” has grown into a movement that has manifested itself in states across the country and has even lead to over 25,000 people, from all walks of life,  demonstrating in Raleigh. Reverend Barber, will be the inaugural speaker for a series of lectures sponsored by The Center for Working Class Life, of which Stony Brook Economics Professor Michael Zweig is the Executive Director. Zweig invited Barber to Stony Brook to present the case for mobilizing our communities to address the challenges facing working people, particularly those who struggle to achieve equal civil rights.  A dynamic speaker, Barber will describe the hurdles he had to overcome as a young man and how they helped him develop the vim and vigor necessary to march with such passion and strength .  Professor Zweig, a frequent guest on our program, explains why he invited Reverend Barber to Long Island. Together they catalogue some of the key issues challenging our communities. You can find more information about the event here.

Rev William Barber talks re origins #MoralMonday and importance of #religion working w/#labor Tweet this

Similar Programs

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2) Joel Shufro, 34 years of achievement at NYCOSH – How Class Works: Michael Zweig talks about a conference focusing on worker issues

3) Unifying A Diverse Labor Movement with NYC Central Labor Council and Teamsters: We talk about efforts to increase solidarity within the diverse labor movement

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