6 arrested at Phoenix Sky Harbor worker protest as strike looms

By Lauren Gilger
Published: Thursday, September 21, 2023 - 11:56am
Updated: Thursday, September 21, 2023 - 12:41pm

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Restaurants at Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport
Sky Schaudt/KJZZ
Restaurants at Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport's Terminal 4 in August 2023.

It was a dramatic scene on Wednesday outside of Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport, where more than 100 workers gathered to protest low wages and poor benefits. Six people were arrested.

It’s the latest union action in today’s increasingly unequal economic landscape. 

Two groups of airport workers are speaking out about what they say are dangerous working conditions and low wages at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport.

Concession workers contracted by SSP America voted on Sept. 1 to authorize a strike after negotiations between the union, UNITE HERE Local 11, and the employer broke down. 

Service workers contracted by Prospect Airport Services filed a complaint with the Arizona Division of Occupational Safety and Health on Sept. 6 alleging violations of federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration regulations. Service workers include employees who handle bags, clean airplane cabins, assist passengers in wheelchairs and more.

Both groups say workers are subjected to extreme heat or unclean work areas, in addition to being underpaid and denied benefits.

The Arizona Republic’s Perry Vandell was there, and he joined The Show to talk about it.

Reagan Priest of Cronkite News contributed to this report.

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