New York, NY—JFK Airport security officers today voted to go on strike if contractors continue to try to silence them from complaining about passenger and worker security and safety concerns.
The security officers, who are forming a labor organization to fight against suppression of their rights, have set a strike for Thursday, Dec. 20, if the companies fail to respond.
Prince Jackson said security officers at JFK like him would prefer not to strike but Air Serv leaves them no choice.
“We are speaking out because we are not provided the basic tools we need to keep passengers at the airport safe. Our backs are against the wall because Air Serv tells us to shut up. Don’t talk about how bad things are. Even to our coworkers.”
Another group of security officers, 100 workers at Global Elite, will vote to authorize a strike tomorrow.
New York elected officials, faith leaders, and their own employees have urged Air Serv and Global Elite to work out a solution that addresses the safety concerns officers raised and affirms airport workers’ right to raise public safety concerns that affects them, other airport staff, and passengers.
Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer, State Senators Toby Ann Stavisky and Joseph P. Addabbo, Jr., and New York City Council Deputy Majority Leader Leroy Comrie are among a dozen elected officials who have supported the officers’ efforts to correct safety and security concerns.
”The security of the traveling public is very important to me,” said Shah Rahman, an Air Serv security officer. “That’s why my coworkers and me have been telling Air Serv about problems we’ve encountered on the job. We submitted petitions. Air Serv instead is trying to silence us. We refuse to be threatened. We won’t be silenced.”
The workers’ actions come on the heels of other low-wage workers organizing at fast food restaurants, car washes, supermarkets and other low-wage industries. In New York City alone, fast food workers staged a one-day strike two weeks ago, workers at a Bronx car wash have gone on strike and employees of four other car washes have voted to join a union.
”From fast food workers to airport workers, low-wage workers are finally speaking out against undignified treatment and low-pay, and many of us in the faith communities are standing with them,” said Apostle Leeds, of the Churches United to Save and Heal (CUSH).
With more than 125,000 members in eight states and Washington, D.C., including 70,000 members in New York, 32BJ SEIU is the largest union of property service workers in the country and the largest private sector union in the states.
# # #