Somali-American Joins Airports Commission

Here’s an interesting press release from the Service Employees International Union Local 26.

Assignment: research the issues facing the Metropolitan Airports Commission, particularly with regard to the labor relations questions, and have a conversation with Ibrahim Mohamed about his new role on the MAC. A good first step – attend the MAC meeting on Tuesday, February 17.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 16, 2015
Contact: Josh Keller, Media Relations Coordinator | 612-270-2984

In Groundbreaking Appointment, Airport Worker Becomes First Somali-American To Serve On Metropolitan Airports Commission
The appointment by Governor Dayton lifts current airport employee into important governing role

St. Paul, MN – On Monday, February 9th, Governor Dayton announced his latest appointments to the 14 member Metropolitan Airports Commission. One of the two new Commissioners selected was Ibrahim Mohamed from Rosemount, a cart driver who works for Delta sub-contractor AirServ and has been employed at the airport for 11 years. Mohamed will be the first Somali-American to serve on the MAC and will be the only current airport employee.

In his 11 years at the Minneapolis-St. Paul (MSP) Airport, Mohamed has served many roles, including Baggage Runner, Ticket Verifier and Lavatory and Water Services. He said that his range of experience, on both sides of security, will allow him to serve the residents of his district and be a voice for the workers on the front lines.

“I am excited to bring the voices of the people that I speak to on a daily basis to the MAC. In my current position as a cart driver, I speak with hundreds of elderly and disabled passengers each day. I hear about their time in MSP and am the first line of response to help,” said Mohamed. “I am excited about this opportunity to serve and to be a leader in connecting new communities to the important work of the Metropolitan Airports Commission.”

Mohamed and hundreds of other employees of AirServ at MSP have been advocating for improved working conditions over the last few years.

“There are hundreds of workers like myself who are paid minimum wage, with no benefits. I’ve made up to $12.50 at various positions, but currently make minimum wage, which just went up in August to $8.00 per hour. I will work to make sure that workers at the airport are part of the conversations at the MAC, because when workers have fair pay, decent benefits and a reliable schedule, we are able to provide world-class service to passengers,” said Mohamed. “I will continue to stand together with my fellow co-workers as we fight for dignity and respect for all workers at MSP, and will always fight to make sure the needs and concerns of workers and passengers are part of all decisions made by the MAC.”

AirServ workers like Mohamed have been fighting for years to have the right to form a union with SEIU Local 26. They have taken direct action with disability rights activists to highlight the need for sub-contractors like Air Serv to value seniors and people with disabilities by paying the workers who serve them a fair wage with decent benefits and a stable schedule.

SEIU Local 26 President Javier Morillo praised Ibrahim’s work to improve conditions at the airport and his new role as MAC commissioner.

“We applaud Governor Dayton for insisting that a worker be represented on the MAC, and appointing a great candidate like Ibrahim Mohamed,” Morillo stated. “I am excited to see Ibrahim continue the work he has always done fighting to make the MSP airport the best airport it can possibly be for both employees and passengers.”

Mohamed’s first MAC hearing will be this Tuesday, February 17th.

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