Building Service Workers Award Honoree Andrea Bundy: An Activist in the News

Andrea Bundy helped lead the fight to raise the pay for airport workers

08 Nov 2019 | 04:37

You may have read about Andrea Bundy in the New York Times ... or the New York Daily News, or heard about her on WNYC. She was a leading activist with 32BJ during the fight to raise the minimum wage for airport workers to $19 per hour. Bundy told the Times in the spring of 2018 that the additional income would allow her to buy track uniforms and shoes for her daughter. “I feel like I got an early Christmas present, not only for me but for my daughter,” she said at the time.

Bundy, 50, has worked at John F. Kennedy Airport for almost seven years, cleaning airplanes between flights. Cabin cleaners like Bundy are given a schedule of planes for the day and she’s currently a representative of terminals five and eight. She loves her job, and does it with “pride and joy.” “Whenever I'm cleaning up a plane, I always think of my family traveling on the plane and what would I expect my family to see,” she says.

She grew up in Jamaica, and was a senior supervisor at a credit union there. That’s where she began advocating for workers. It’s important to Bundy that her managers respect her and her coworkers, and treat them justly. When she got her job at JFK she noticed that things could be better for workers there, and saw it as a chance to step up and give workers a voice. So she began handing out information about 32BJ and organized her coworkers to join.

“They used to put us in a truck, right? We weren't happy about that. The truck was cold, it was freezing. And the supervisor said to me, ‘Get in the truck’ and I said, ‘It is freezing in there. You don't provide us with a jacket.’ And he said, ‘Go in there or I'll take your ID.’ And that really opened my eyes and I said, ‘Why are they treating us like that? You know, this is something we have to put a stop to,” she says. Now, a nicer van takes workers to each plane.

Bundy came to New York about eight years ago because her family is here, and she currently lives in Brooklyn. In her free time she loves cooking Jamaican food, watching comedies and spending time with her daughter, who just joined the Navy.

“Whenever I'm cleaning up a plane, I always think of my family traveling on the plane and what would I expect my family to see.” Andrea Bundy