Airport workers across the U.S. are going on 24-hour fasts in order to protest low wages and bad working conditions, according to the New Times Broward Palm Beach. Somewhere in the vicinity of 2,000 contract workers across fifteen different airports, including Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International, are involved in the protests, which are taking place on one of the busiest traveling days of the year.
The fast has been organized to draw attention to the poor working conditions that many airport staff suffer. The Service Employees International Union said in a press release that this is a measure to "shine the spotlight on the intimidation, harassment and retaliation tactics these workers encounter from their employers when they attempt to form unions to improve their livelihoods."
"We are fasting for a good cause," said Tranden Baccus, 33, who makes only $8 per hour for his physically demanding work at the airport. "I believe in $15 and union rights and that's what we need so we can care for our families and make sure the passengers are cared for the right way."
The press release goes on to lament the quality of the service and size of the wages that have come from outsourcing jobs to contractors, citing a study done by UC Berkeley's Labor Center, which showed that 37 percent of cleaning and baggage workers live in or near the poverty level. Wheelchair attendants are amongst those workers paid only $3.77 per hour, as they are considered to be tipped employees, according to The Washington Post.
The efforts to protest these conditions have already attracted attention from high-profile supporters, such as Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, who wrote a letter praising them last month. She thanked the workers for their efforts, encouraging them to "continue to raise your voices until we get working Americans a better deal."