LONG ISLAND, NY – Just hours before more than 1,000 workers were scheduled to walk off their jobs at New York City’s two airports, a settlement was announced with their employer, a subcontractor for Delta Air Lines.
Baggage handlers and security officers allege Aviation Safeguards had been illegally interfering with their efforts to join a union.
At a news conference on Wednesday, Hector Figueroa, president of Local 32BJ of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), says the company had agreed to the workers’ demand.
“We have won today a significant step forward,” he says. “The right to bargain, sit down with the company and improve our jobs and our lives.”
Baggage handlers, security officers at John F. Kennedy International (JFK) and LaGuardia airports today announced an agreement with Aviation Safeguard, a subcontractor for Delta Air Lines, just hours before a scheduled strike. Comments from Hector Figueroa, president of 32BJ SEIU; and Mary Kay Henry, international president, Service Employees International Union.
The union says baggage handlers are among the 12,000 workers at LaGuardia and JFK airports who have been fighting for union membership and higher wages for the past two years.
Mary Kay Henry, international president of SEIU, told the crowd the success of the organizing effort in New York is “just the beginning.”
“We intend to make this breakthrough a signal of hope to millions of workers at airports who know that poverty wages don’t fly,” she says.
Organizers say the next step is to get the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which controls the airports, to mandate a living wage to prevent airlines and their service companies from simply switching to non-union subcontractors.
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