Seven major U.S. air terminals could see some congestion on Thursday after more than 2,000 airport workers went on strike Wednesday night. The workers, who are demanding higher wages and better working conditions, say that the strikes will continue into Thursday.
The picket lines formed at around 7:30pm Wednesday at seven U.S. airports: John F. Kennedy International Airport, LaGuardia Airport, Newark Liberty International Airport, Boston Logan Airport, Philadelphia International Airport, Chicago O'Hare International Airport and Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport.
According to the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), who organized the protest, the workers are requesting a raise in their hourly wages to $15. Some of the airport workers are only getting paid $6.75 an hour and are forced to work extra jobs.
"Despite working fulltime, they cannot afford to rent a room for themselves, let alone take care of their families," SEIU spokesman Marc Goumbri said to the Washington Post. "The workers have a right to get together under federal law and fight for better working conditions, but when they do so they face retaliation from the contractors."
The airport workers on strike included wheelchair attendees, baggage handlers and cleaners. One of those cleaners on strike was Jean Timmer. The 41-year-old earns $10.10 an hour working the overnight shift, but he says it's not enough to take care of his family.
"We're not getting our fair share. These companies can't function without workers and yet they don't want to treat us fairly," Timmer said to CNNMoney. "Safety concerns are a really big deal and if we get injured who's going to pay for that -- we are."
Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport said that the strike wouldn't slow down their operations or service.