Suado Gabo, a wheelchair agent at Minneapolis St. Paul International Airport, arrives at work not knowing if she’ll be sent home midway through her scheduled shift. And on her way out the door, Gabo checks to see if her employer, Airserv, has picked up her “standby” days later in the week.
Airserv’s new scheduling practices have riled airport workers like Gabo, whose paycheck shrunk by about 25 percent as a result of the changes. And while she spends fewer hours on the clock, Gabo must remain available to work on “standby” days, making it difficult to recoup lost wages with a second job.
“I go home every day and think, what am I going to do if there’s no work tomorrow?” Gabo said. “I just want to work.”
Gabo was among more than 20 Airserv workers who registered their frustrations with the company’s new scheduling practices during a rally inside Terminal 1 at MSP today.
Wheelchair agent Darcy Landau said he used to work 40 hours per week, but now works just 20 hours, “if not one day,” per week.
“Every single week you’ve got to check if you’re working or not working,” Airserv worker Randa Jama added. “It’s crazy.”
Joined by workers from other airport employers, including fired Delta baggage handler Kip Hedges, Airserv employees delivered a petition with 225 signatures to their managers and the Metropolitan Airports Commission. The petition calls on Airserv to meet with workers about their scheduling complaints and to give workers paper copies of their paycheck stubs, so that they can ensure they’re being paid in full.
Airserv recently switched to an electronic payroll system, with paycheck information available only via a website. But many workers reported trouble loading the site, and others said they lack the skills or resources necessary to get online.
The rally at MSP echoed worker-led protests at airports across the country, timed to mark the birthday of Martin Luther King, Jr. Hundreds of workers in New York briefly blocked access to LaGuardia Airport, calling for higher wages.
Local 26 of the Service Employees International Union is supporting Airserv workers in efforts to organize a union. Many of the workers who participated in the rally also are active in the “Fight for $15” campaign to establish a $15 minimum wage at MSP.