Boston, MA—With support from former Governor Michael Dukakis, Episcopal Vicar Reverend James Flavin and a string of elected officials and community leaders, Logan Airport passengers workers – representing nearly a thousand employees- delegates of contracted Logan Airport service workers declared today that they and nearly a thousand of their co-workers have chosen 32BJ SEIU as their union and are demanding better pay and benefits, dignity, respect and a voice in the workplace.
“Airport workers have decided to take a stand for justice, dignity and respect, said Roxana Rivera Director of 32BJ SEIU District 615. “Their voices should be counted and their needs addressed.”
The workers say they are now ready to fight for a binding contract that improves their pay and working conditions.
“I am proud to stand with the Logan passenger service workers because I know that more than ever, workers need the bargaining strength that comes with unions’ membership,” said Attorney General and Gubernatorial Candidate Marth Coakley. “Our Commonwealth’s economic and social well-being depends on maintaining a healthy middle class, and leveling the playing field for all of our workers. That means paying our workers enough to make ends meet.”
Inside the Paulist Center, just steps from the Massachusetts State House, community groups counted commitment cards signed by nearly a thousand of airport workers stating their intention as former Governor of Massachusetts Michael Dukakis, 32BJ SEIU President Hector Figueroa,Evandro Carvalho State Representative,Reverend James Flavin and dozens of community supporters observed.
“I know it’s not going to be easy but I am confident we will get a union,” Judith, a Logan Airport passenger service worker employed by G2 Services, the largest service contractor at Logan Airport, said to the more than 100 worker delegates attending the event. “We will get a contract that pays us fair wages and benefits and that we will get respect and dignity in our workplaces.”
32BJ SEIU has been helping workers employed by leading contractors, about 1,200 workers, organize themselves into a union. Nearly a thousand have signed cards to join 32BJ SEIU.
Workers say they want simple fairness—wage and benefits on par with employees of contractors that are unionized at Logan and they cannot wait any longer for employers and the carriers that hire them to recognize their bedrock demands to a collective bargaining process.
Contracted passenger service workers providing crucial services such as cabin cleaning, terminal security, baggage handling, wheelchair assistance, and sky cap services, currently struggle on low wages and lack basic benefits like affordable health insurance or paid sick time. In one of the most expensive cities in the nation, workers struggle to get by on poverty wages, often relying on food stamps or eating at food pantries, getting health care from MassHealth and other public subsidies to make ends meet despite working full time at the airports.
Jobs that were once direct airline positions with decent compensation have become low-wage, no-benefit positions. For years, these workers have petitioned employers, airlines and terminal operators; held rallies and taken to the streets to demand improved working standards that allow them to live with dignity, but working conditions have not improved.
Last month and flanked by gubernatorial candidates, Martha Coakley and Steven Grossman and a string of elected officials and community allies, service workers at Logan Airport kick-off a campaign to demand better treatment and a path to a union contract.
With more than 150,000 members, including 17,000 in Massachusetts, 32BJ SEIU is the largest property service union in the country.