United Airlines is pocketing billions, and I’ve been sleeping out of my car working for them

United Airlines is pocketing billions, and I’ve been sleeping out of my car working for them

Worker: Elijah Taylor, Wheelchair Attendant, Houston

Everyday is a struggle for survival when you’re living paycheck to paycheck like me. I work 5 to 6 days a week as a wheelchair attendant at George Bush Intercontinental Airport during the day and I drive for Uber Eats in the evenings and on weekends. I work hard, but I can’t afford a roof over my head. For the past 3 months, I’ve been sleeping in my car because I have no place to go.

I’m only paid $7.25 an hour at the airport–not the $10.39 we won this fall. Airport workers in Houston took a huge step forward in our fight for $15 and union rights on October 9 when the Mayor raised the airport minimum wage to $10.39 in 2019, $11.22 in 2020, and $12 in 2021. We won, but the airlines aren’t keeping their word.

On my pay, all I can do is survive until my next paycheck. I can’t afford to scrape together rent, let alone a deposit or application fee for an apartment. And I can’t afford to wait any longer.

This isn’t what I envisioned my life to be when I graduated high school last year. I saw myself working, going to college and building a bright future for myself. But that’s not possible at the airport if things stay as they are. We need fair wages, benefits, and a union.

We need a seat at the table to make sure airlines like United follow through with their promises. Fair pay is just the beginning. With a union, we can negotiate for things like affordable health care, sick days, and paid time off to spend with friends and family. This year, I won’t be able to visit loved ones for the holidays because I don’t get paid time off and I can’t afford to miss a day.

Houstonians at United Airlines’ second-busiest hub deserve better. We’re going to keep fighting until airlines pay the wages we were promised and we win unions for all.

Original post from Airport Workers United.