Three hundred and fifty Denver International Airport (DIA) janitors launched a strike at 6 AM Saturday morning, citing unfair wages and increased workloads as the reason for the walk out, according to Service Employees International Union (SEIU).
The strike comes following months of negotiations with the janitor's contractor, Flagship Facility Services, according to a SEIU news release.
"Flagship's latest wage proposal still falls lower than inflation - amounting to what Janitors are seeing as a pay cut after being called heroes for the last 20 months," the release said.
After months of negotiations, Denver Airport janitors are back on the picket line to demand that their contractor @Flagship_Inc respects them with fair wages and workloads. We stand united in demanding better jobs, better communities, and a better airport. pic.twitter.com/ghCDVADgpC— Airport Workers United (@GoodAirports) November 20, 2021
As apart of the CARES act (An economic relief package in response to the pandemic) and the American Rescue Plan DIA was given $500 million in federal relief funds, the release says.
“They’ve spent billions on construction projects and infrastructure at this airport,” said DIA janitor Amer Garsak.
“But who makes that infrastructure work? Who keeps that infrastructure clean and safe? We do, and the workload required to get it done just keeps going up. We’re being asked to do more with less. We’re understaffed, we’re overworked, and we’re underpaid. Flagship, the Airport and the City can do the right thing for our families and raise the standards for good jobs DEN," Garsak said.
The strike comes amid one of the airport's busiest times for travel— Thanksgiving week.
“We keep this place running, we put ourselves at risk every day, and we deserve to be able to put food on the table for the holidays. This isn’t easy for any of us, but neither is working a second job just to pay the bills. We’d love to be able to spend Thanksgiving with our families, but we’re doing this to make our jobs better, our communities better, and this airport better for everyone who has to travel through here for the holidays," said DIA janitor Luis Gonzalez.
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