BLACK VOICES
08/13/2014 11:58 am ET

New Report Shows 'Stark' Racial Inequalities Among Service Jobs At Baltimore Airport

A report released by labor union UNITED HERE last week has revealed serious racial employment inequalities at Baltimore-Washington International (BWI) Airport.

The results showed that African American workers were six times more likely to work in fast food jobs at BWI and more than three times likely to work in “back of the house" restaurant jobs, such as dishwasher and cook, when compared to white employees.

Birdie Palmer, a Local 7 Organizer for UNITED HERE, joined HuffPost Live on Monday to weigh in on these findings, which she said showed a “stark difference” in the demographic distribution of employees among service jobs at BWI.

While African Americans hold 59 percent of all jobs at the airport, this demographic holds a much larger share of service jobs. According to the report, African Americans hold 82 percent of these jobs, while white employees hold 5 percent of service jobs, Palmer said.

“Again, these are the lowest-paid jobs there are at the airport,” she added.

Kinecia Gossett, who has been an Aero Service Group employee since 2010, said that the survey results closely mirrored her own experience at the airport.

“In those four years, it took me two years to become a server,” Gossett said. “I started as a host [and] cashier making 9 dollars an hour, and every time I went to my managers to talk to them about a promotion, they used to always say, ‘well, we have to see…’”

When Gossett discussed a possible promotion with her managers, the ASG employee said her superiors would put the issue “on the back burner again” and “make up excuses.”

“That was always the run around. I never got a direct answer with them,” Gossett told host Alyona Minkovski.

But since the survey has been published, Gossett has seen some gains within ASG, which owns and operates the restaurants at BWI.

“At first ASG only had 2 black servers, now we have 5 black servers,” she said.

UNITED HERE is still waiting for response from the Maryland Aviation Administration and, with the help of some prominent Baltimore figures, is pushing for a full investigation.

Watch the full HuffPost Live conversation here.

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