32BJ of SERVICE EMPLOYEES INTERNATIONAL UNION
Press Release FOR: June 22, 2023
**FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE**
Citing Unfair Labor Practices, LaGuardia Airport Workers Go On STRIKE!
Workers demanded respect on the job, following coercive interrogation and retaliation by Swissport USA including retaliatory firings and suspensions
Other airport workers made demand for Congress to include ‘Good Job for Good Airports Act’ wage, benefit standards in FAA Reauthorization
New York, NY – Ramp workers and cabin cleaners at LaGuardia Airport went on strike Thursday to protest unfair labor practices by their employer, Swissport USA. LaGuardia’s airport workers who allege retaliation, interrogation, and other unfair labor practices in response to collective action in the workplace, including threats of discharge and coercive interrogation by management and the suspension of eight workers and the firing of two workers will be on strike.
Other airport workers across the country joining a wave of escalations across several major airports are raising the heat in their national campaign to demand the respect, protections, pay and benefits they deserve.
LaGuardia Swissport USA workers will be joined by Queens Borough President Donovan Richards, State Senators Jessica Ramos, Kristen Gonzalez, John Liu, and City Council Member Francisco Moya, as they call on Swissport USA to stop their intimidation tactics and improve working conditions for the very workers who power air travel.
“We have had it! We have had enough of Swissport USA’s culture of intimidation and retaliation, when we speak up about our conditions at work,” said Jonathan Rodriguez, Swissport USA Ramp Agent. “Today, we took action with a strike. Every one of us takes pride in our jobs and understands the vital role we play in maintaining one of our nation’s largest international hubs of travel and commerce. It’s high time that Swissport USA acknowledged that basic truth as well.”
“Today, Swissport USA workers at LaGuardia took one of the biggest risks a working person can take by going on strike. They did not make this choice lightly. They took to the picket line because they believe that this company has created an unsafe workplace dominated by a toxic culture of intimidation and retaliation. And they believe that only a strike would force Swissport USA to understand the magnitude of the issue. And, of course, 32BJ proudly stands with these working New Yorkers as they seek fair treatment. Unfortunately, Swissport USA is not the only contractor that does not treat their workers with the respect they deserve and seemingly ignores worker safety. That’s why it’s so important to have a national standard across the board. And why Congress must pass the Good Jobs Good Airports Act now!” said John Santos, SEIU Local 32BJ Secretary-Treasurer.
Simultaneously during this first official week of summer, other airport service workers across the country are calling on Congress to take federal action in the FAA budget reauthorization to ensure good jobs with fair wages and benefits for airport service workers who keep our air travel system safe, clean and running.
Their actions come as airport service workers around the nation are rising up to demand fair wages and benefits for the majority Black, brown and immigrant airport service workforce who keep our airports safe and running. Without fair wages and affordable healthcare benefits, the service workforce we rely on is forced to deal with staffing shortages and high turnover.
With summer travel rates surging, airport service workers’ demands have been surging, too, as they call on Congress to support the inclusion of the Good Jobs for Good Airports Act’s nationwide wage and benefit standards in the upcoming FAA Reauthorization. By requiring fair wages, affordable healthcare and paid time off, the Good Jobs for Good Airports standards would help stabilize the air travel industry by ensuring airport service jobs are good jobs you can support a family on.
With more than 175,000 members in 12 states, 32BJ SEIU is the largest property service workers union in the country.