Delta Airlines: A scary place to work and to speak out about it

US airlines currently earn record profits due to low oil prices, but working for Delta Airlines means to be on a poverty level for many.

Delta Airlines: A scary place to work and to speak out about it

US airlines currently earn record profits due to low oil prices, but working for Delta Airlines means to be on a poverty level for many.

On Friday, December 5, more than 100 demonstrators, all workers or sub-contractors for this US airline, had enough and started a peaceful demonstration at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport. They claimed to get paid poverty-level wages, briefly shutting down access to one of MSP’s two terminals.

The rally, planned about a month ago, took on an added dimension in the wake of Delta’s termination of longtime employee and labor activist Kip Hedges. Delta fired Hedges, citing “disparaging remarks” he made about the company in a video posted online in October.

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Kip Hedges, 61, worked for Delta Airlines for 26 years before he lost his job. He asked the company on Tuesday to reverse its decision to fire him for speaking out about the low wages paid to baggage handlers. His protest was caught in a 30-second video clip during a labor rally pressing for minimum wage increases at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport.

“A lot of the Delta workers make under $15 an hour,” Hedges told a reporter in a video that was later posted to Facebook by 15 Now Minnesota, which organized the rally. “As a matter of fact, I would say probably close to half make under $15 an hour. So there’s a lot of them that understand how important this is. And a lot of the better-paid workers also understand that the bottom has to be raised otherwise the top is going to fall, as well.”

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