Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport Workers Protest Low Wages

Airport workers gathered Saturday to protest low wages.

By Alexandra Leon and Claudia DoCampo
|  Saturday, Oct 5, 2013  |  Updated 5:24 PM EDT
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About 100 Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport employees showed up at Fort Lauderdale Welcome Park to protest low wages and to form a union.

About 100 Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport employees showed up at Fort Lauderdale Welcome Park to protest low wages and to form a union.

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About 100 Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport employees showed up at Fort Lauderdale Welcome Park to protest low wages and to form a union.

The workers gathered at State Road 84 and U.S. 1 on Saturday to rally against minimum wage pay without affordable benefits.

"With these wages, we can't support our families," said worker Rashad Grant, who makes $8 per hour. "We're not living paycheck to paycheck -- we're not even making it to the next paycheck."

Others make even less. Newton Ingraham, who works at curbside check-in, makes $4.77 per hour without benefits. He said he gets up at 3:30 a.m. to work his second job at UPS, then goes to the airport.

Ingraham said what he wants is a pay that matches his level of customer service.

"There are a lot of people traveling the airport that suffer from anxiety and our job is make things easier and make their experience a good one," he said. "That's why the airport is making billions and billions of dollars, because of the level of service we provide."

For many, the rally was a way to show airport management the workers will not back down until they are heard.

"It gives us an opportunity to show them that we are united," Grant said. "We're going to keep fighting until we get the change that we want."

The protesters were joined by members of several social advocacy organizations and other local leaders.

"We are here in solidarity with all the workers," said Marlene Bastien, executive director of the Haitian Women of Miami. "These workers really work very hard to keep the airport going to keep the airport clean to make sure that visitors who come from all around the world when they come, they are proud of what we have at the Fort Lauderdale airport. But these workers who are in charge of making us look good around the world are treated poorly every day of their lives."

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