Over 20 Air Wisconsin flight attendants picketed at the airport of Appleton, Wisconsin, which is home to the regional carrier that pays many of them as little as $15,000 a year and bases them in some of the most expensive areas of the country.
“To live in Washington DC on these wages is nearly impossible. People may say for me to get another job, but someone will still have to work for $15, 000 a year in Washington DC! What management is doing to hard working people is not right!” — Air Wisconsin flight attendant
“They are living in poverty wages,” said Toni Higgins, an Association of Flight Attendants-CWA International staff representative and former flight attendant to USA Today Network-Wisconsin
Ernie Lazernick, president of the Air Wisconsin unit of AFA-CWA to USA Today—
“A lot of them end up working extra jobs, so they’re working 2-3 jobs just to make ends meet and pay their health care bills and food and lodging and their rent,” she said. “They want to take good care of their passengers and when you’re stressed about not being able to pay your bills, it’s really hard on them.”
“The airline industry has been very profitable over the years, and it’s their time to increase (flight attendants’) wages to a living wage.”
Lazernick pointed out that although AirWis management has refused to raise the pay of flight attendants since 2007, they have been offered bonuses.
Ernie Lazernick, president of the Air Wisconsin unit of AFA-CWA, said flight attendants are guaranteed 70 hours a month with a starting pay of $17.51. The company has so far responded with an offer of a 1.8 percent raise, and a subsequent offer of 2 percent.