Boston, MA— With the upcoming Thanksgiving travel season expected to be the busiest in recent memory –and for the 3rd time this year at Logan– non-union airport cleaners and baggage handlers at Logan will go on strike tonight over unfair labor practices by their contractors and health and safety hazards, this time joining the first-ever nationwide airport workers strike for families.
Airport workers from around the country, who are fighting for $15 an hour and dignity at work, will be holding similar actions in Chicago, New York City, Newark, Philadelphia, and Fort Lauderdale under the banner #Strike4Families.
“This is not only a problem at Logan Airport. America’s airports have a problem. The decades-in-the-making race to the bottom in the aviation service industry has created a system so dysfunctional that on virtually any given day workers could walk off the job to protest health and safety violations, wage theft, and horrendous working conditions that make life miserable for thousands of workers across the country”, said Roxana Rivera, Vice President of 32BJ SEIU.
WHO: In Boston, striking workers who work for JetBlue and Delta’s subcontractors Lima and Ready Jet will be joined by supporters to protest health and safety harzards.
Around the country, subcontracted airport workers who service JetBlue, United and various other major airlines, will hold similar rallies to send a clear message to the subcontractors that any further disregard of the law will not be tolerated.
WHEN/WHERE: Wednesday, November 18:
7:30 pm kick-off picket outside South Station. Downtown Boston.
Thursday, November 19:
7:30 AM March starts at Porzio Park.
9:30 AM Rally with workers, community supporters and elected officials at East Boston Memorial Park.
VISUALS: Workers holding strike signs, and banners with the control tower as a backdrop chanting “airport workers on strike”
To contact striking workers and union officers please call Eugenio H Villasante at 646-285-1087.
While airlines across the country have been making record profits, the airport workers who make these profits possible are struggling to survive in jobs that pay poverty wages, provide little to no affordable health care, and few paid days off. Various studies have shown that these working conditions can directly affect airport worker’s families and their communities. Like fast food workers, who they have supported during similar national strikes, airport workers have been organizing for the past three years and have committed to do whatever it takes to win $15 and union rights. As airport workers have been organizing for better lives, many of the subcontractors they work for have committed health and safety violations and many of their demands for better treatment have been met with illegal repression. To expose the illegal treatment that they are forced to endure at our nation’s airports, thousands of airport workers across the country have decided to go on strike.
At each airport, striking airport workers are taking action against individual yet similar illegal practices, the last straw after years of poverty wages, few benefits and subpar working conditions.
This is the third non-union strike at Logan since June 16, when almost 100 Logan Airport airline contractor workers walked off of their jobs to protest unfair labor practices by two service contractors, which resulted in formal complaints issued against G2, ReadyJet and two other contractors. Since the strike, Delta contractors G2 and ReadyJet have continued to threaten employees. Workers filed charges against their employers with the NLRB and the agency is currently investigating these new allegations.
ReadyJet imposed discipline on several Delta aircraft cleaners for failing to report to work on the day of the strike. One of those workers is Francisco Luna, who also spoke at the Massport Board meeting on July 16 to inform Port Authority officials about ReadyJet’s recent conduct against employees. On July 27, ReadyJet fired Francisco, relying in part on his previous disciplinary warning for failing to report to work on the day of the strike. Francisco (a resident of Mattapan) supports himself and family members with airport wages.
In 2012 Massport wrote to its licensed operators that “your Commercial Service Operator’s Agreement with the Authority requires that you comply with all federal and state employment laws at all times.” It is time for airline clients and Massport to take action to ensure only lawful conduct and treatment of airport workers by Logan Airport contractors.
Logan Airport, New England’s largest transportation center brings more than $7 billion in economic activity to the area, but many of the workers there do not reap the benefits. To cut costs, airlines like JetBlue outsource passenger service jobs to low-bid contractors. This low-bid system leaves cabin cleaners, wheelchair attendants and baggage handlers who allow the airport to run making as little as $10 an hour, without access to affordable health benefits or sick days.
Follow the strike at #Strike4Families
With 145,000 members in eleven states and Washington, D.C., 32BJ SEIU is the largest property service workers union in the country.