About 200 workers at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport and their supporters rallied Thursday for better health care benefits, part of a national movement intended to improve working conditions at airports across the country.

"We want good, affordable health care benefits at the airport," said Greg Nammacher, president of SEIU Local 26, which represents some 400 MSP workers including wheelchair attendants and airplane cabin cleaners.

The rally, held at Terminal 2, was one of more than a dozen taking place at airports nationwide, including those in Dallas, Los Angeles, Miami, New York City and Phoenix.

Other unions participating locally were UNITE HERE Local 17, Teamsters Local 120, Association of Flight Attendants-CWA, and the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers.

The group is calling upon the Metropolitan Airports Commission (MAC), which operates MSP Airport, to require employers to "address unaffordable health care for service workers at the airport," according to a news release.

The MAC adopted a minimum wage ordinance in 2020, which resulted in raises to $15 an hour that began in July. Annual cost-of-living adjustments will be made going forward, increasing to $15.19 in January, according to MAC spokesman Jeff Lea.

In a statement, Lea noted that "thousands of front-line employees support the safe and efficient operations" at MSP. The airport has numerous local, national and international employers which offer a variety of benefits, he said.

The MAC, Lea said, "has worked with these employers to make considerable progress related to fair wages and a positive work experience for these workers," including the minimum wage ordinance in 2020.

But Nammacher said the raise means that many airport workers no longer qualify for publicly subsidized health care. Discussions about the issue have been ongoing with airport officials, he said, adding that "we hope we have a good partner with MAC."

The rallies highlighted a bill introduced this summer in Congress by Sen. Ed Markey, D-Mass., called the Good Jobs for Good Airports Act, which calls for a minimum wage for airport service workers, paid time off, holidays and affordable health care.

Nammacher said the issue of health care benefits comes as the nation emerges from the COVID-19 pandemic, when airport workers were considered essential and often worked at the expense of their own health.