In a unanimous vote at the Miami-Dade County Commission meeting on Tuesday, concession workers at Miami International Airport were included in the county’s living wage ordinance. While $4.98 may not seem like a lot, it’s a chunk of change Miami International Airport concession workers have been fighting to earn for years.
Wendi Walsh, the secretary and treasurer of Unite Here Local 355, is a member of the union that’s been leading the fight. “They’re not gonna get rich, but they’re gonna be able to put food on the table for their kids, so we’re thrilled,” says Walsh.
Rebecca Vedrine doesn’t work at Miami International Airport.
Instead, she is two dozen miles way, working as a Starbucks barista at Fort Lauderdale International Airport. The distance didn’t stop her her from showing up to lend her support.
“You know it’s still like a brother-sister thing,” says Vedrine. “They deserve it; they’re hard workers.”
Another airport measure before the commission had to do with finding ways to retain airline employees, which was deferred to a future meeting.
In another narrow vote, the Miami Dolphins got the green light to bring their training facilities back home. Miami-Dade commissioners passed a 10-year extension to the subsidy deal that would move the team's training facility from Davie to Miami Gardens.
The deal was backed by Commissioner Barbara Jordan, who represents Miami Gardens. On top of the 10-year extension, the vote increases the maximum the team can receive from the county in incentives by $750,000.
The original cap was $5 million. It passed with one no vote, from Commission Chair Esteban Bovo.
He worries the Miami Dolphins would be “dragged into the aura of the Marlins' stench,” referring to the Marlins stadium the commission approved in 2008.
Mayor Carlos Gimenez supported the Dolphins' deal, calling it a “bargain” because of team spending and and the potential for large concerts and special events.