For immediate release
July 16, 2018
Miami, FL – On Tuesday night UNITE HERE Local 355 Miami successfully capped two months’ worth of frantic grassroots, political, and media advocacy by packing the Miami Dade County Commission with members in red union shirts, and watching as the County Commission reverse course to deliver on promised raises for 2,000 concessions workers at the Miami Airport. The raises, which would increase wages for concessions workers at MIA by up to $5 for some workers, was narrowly passed this spring before being overturned by the Miami Dade County Mayor, and finally approved for airport workers on Tuesday.
UNITE HERE leadership and workers praised the County Commissioners who delivered the promised raise to workers – and warned that in order to deliver the intended relief to low-wage workers, two loopholes must be closed when the issue is taken up for the second read on July 24th. “Last night the Miami Dade County Commission voted to change the lives of 2,000 airport workers here in Miami, because they had the courage to do what was right for their constituents, not what was politically expedient,” said Wendi Walsh, Secretary-Treasurer of UNITE HERE Local 355, which represents Starbucks workers at MIA. “UNITE HERE applauds the County Commission for standing by its promise to deliver a much needed raise to 2,000 members of our community, and we urge the Commission to remove the concessions extension loophole and implementation delay that would undercut this incredible victory.”
As written, bad actor concessionaries would have a loophole to avoid paying the newly approved living wage required for new airport concessions contracts if they continued their lease through an extension mechanism instead of a traditional renewal. Additionally, the current implementation date of January 1, 2019 would create a rush of concessionaries seeking contracts with the airport before implementation. Because of this, UNITE HERE is urging that the County Commission protects their accomplishment by removing the contract extension loophole and setting the implementation date as within 10 days of the final July 24th vote.
UNITE HERE represents 270,000 members working in the hotel, gaming, food service, manufacturing, textile, distribution, laundry, transportation, and airport industries in the U.S. and Canada, including many immigrant workers.