DENVER (AP) - Fast food, home health care workers and their supporters demonstrated Tuesday at Denver International Airport as part of a nationwide day of protests to push for higher wages and union rights.
About 200 people handed out fliers to passengers in the airport’s terminal urging them to support airport workers. The demonstration marked the start of a campaign by the Service Employees International Union to reach out to workers employed by airport contractors, such as wheelchair attendants it says are struggling to get by on $5.29 an hour plus rare tips. There was no disruption to airport operations, a spokeswoman said.
The protest started before sunrise at a McDonald’s restaurant in Denver. About 100 people, including about 60 striking fast food workers from around the metro area, picketed but weren’t able to enter the store as they’ve done previously because the doors were locked, SEIU Local 105 spokeswoman Maria Corral said.
No one was arrested, police said.
Corletta Hithon, a home health care worker, said she earns $10.50 an hour but struggles to get by because her employer has cut her back to 21 hours a week. She said she has been homeless off and on and now lives in a room provided by a friend at no charge.
Still, she loves the people she cares for and is reluctant to go somewhere else because doesn’t want to give up those clients and possibly start out making less. Hithon, who traveled to Washington in the spring to push for a minimum wage increase, said she wanted to help reach out to airport workers who are also struggling.
“Unjust is unjust. We’re all working for the same thing - a livable wage,” she said.
Colorado voters passed a minimum wage hike this month. Its current minimum wage is $8.31 an hour, but it will be raised to $9.30 an hour next year. The wage will then go up 90 cents an hour each year until the wage is $12 an hour by 2020.
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