MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – A Minneapolis man is fighting to get his job back Wednesday.

Kip Hedges says Delta fired him for trying to unionize airline employees.

Hedges says his comments about the need to raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour, and the right to unionize, cost him his job of 26 years.

“I spent a long time, a big part of my life building Northwest and then Delta Airlines,” Hedges said.

For 26 years, Hedges worked unloading and loading planes for first Northwest and then Delta Airlines.

He says it’s a job he was proud of and a company he said he loved working for until he spoke out about the conditions many of his co-workers face.

“I said there were a lot of Delta workers that were very interested and concerned about the minimum wage effort. And, that in fact, probably close to half of Delta workers made less than $15 an hour,” Hedges said.

Hedges says he was fired a short time later.

In a statement the airlines says, “Delta regrets any instance where a longtime employee is terminated and reviews their entire work record before making such a decision. However, Delta requires all employees to meet company performance and conduct standards. This includes upholding our core values of respect and honesty in any communications regarding Delta.”

Since his firing, union members and airport workers have protested for higher wages and the right to unionize.

“When you are making $4 billion a year in profit, you should not have one single worker who’s below the poverty line,” Hedges said.

Hedges say he will stay with the fight for $15 and to form a union, no matter what happens in his appeal to get his job back.

He says he’s prepared to take his fight to federal court if he’s not re-instated.

A fundraiser has been set up to help Hedges fight to get his job back.

It will be held at from 3 p.m. until 1 a.m. at Casper’s Cherokee Bar and Grill, located at 4625 Nicholas Road in Eagan.

There is also a defense fund set up.

Donations are being accepted at all Wings Financial Credit Unions.

Reg Chapman

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