Flight attendants with Spirit Airlines will be holding picket lines at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport for the first half of the week as part of a nationwide protest over their contract with the low-cost carrier.
The pickets will begin Monday and end Wednesday and will take place at the ticketing level of Terminal 4, according to a statement from the Association of Flight Attendants, the union that represents the Spirit workers.
"We're out here today to get a contract that represents our success in the company, our front-line employees, our flight attendants, that work very hard to contribute to the success of the airline," said Jason Meyer, with the association.
Similar protests will take place at Detroit Metropolitan Airport, Atlantic City International Airport and McCarran International Airport in Las Vegas.
The AFA said they're asking for a "fair contract" from the Miramar-based airline, with whom they've been negotiating since 2007. Earlier this year, AFA asked the National Mediation Board to declare that negotiations are at an impasse.
"Spirit Flight Attendants have tried to work with management on reaching an agreement that reflected our role as first responders and our role in the great success of our airline," AFA president at Spirit Todd St. Pierre said in a statement. "However, management continues to make regressive proposals and ignore our contributions. That must stop. Spirit Flight Attendants are an integral part of our airline and management cannot continue to rake in profits on the backs of its frontline workers."
At Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport the Local 32-BJ Union representing the airport service workers carried out a silent protest, seeking the same increases as Spirit flight attendants.
"The workers who work in the shadow of this airport, contracted by the airlines to do critical services that keep this airport safe and secure are not able to enjoy the same Thanksgiving dinner that many of us are able to have because they're not able to make ends meet," said Eric Brakken.
Edson Jocelyn, an airport service worker, said that many of his co-workers make about $4.65 an hour.
"Most of the people that are in this airport are on food stamps and Medicaid," he said
From coast to coast, AAA estimates that some 43 million Americans will be travelling this Thanksgiving, with more than half hitting the roads. South Florida's two big airports are expecting more than one million passengers between them.