A week ahead of the Thanksgiving travel rush, nonunion workers at Logan International Airport plan to strike Wednesday night and Thursday over what they call unfair labor practices.
The workers, cleaners and baggage handlers employed by JetBlue and two Delta subcontractors, Lima and Ready Jet, want an hourly wage of $15, and say they work under "health and safety hazards." Workers staged similar strikes in June and August.
“This is not only a problem at Logan Airport," said Roxana Rivera, vice president of 32BJ, an affiliate of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), in a statement. "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 virtually any given day workers could walk out of 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.”
Logan's workers are joining striking workers at airports in Chicago, New York City, Newark, Philadelphia, and Fort Lauderdale.
The protestors blame airlines for outsourcing service jobs to the lowest bidder, leaving workers "making as little as $10 an hour, without access to affordable health benefits or sick days."
Update, 3:23 p.m.: Massport released the following statement through a spokesperson:
Massport believes all workers should make a fair wage and experience acceptable working conditions. To that end:
The Authority, on six separate occasions, sent letters to more than 70 private firms working at the airport for airlines regarding allegations raised, including:
- Worker Discrimination based on national origin
- Retaliation related to worker attendance at Massport meetings
- Retaliation related to self-organization and union bargaining rights, and
- Violations of federal and state wage and hour laws.
Massport’s internal audit department did a follow examination. Based on that work, Massport turned over two wage issue matters to the Attorney General.
Massport now requires through our Commercial Services Operating Agreements that a Commercial Service Operator demonstrate that it has in place a Labor Peace Agreement, and comply with employee retention requirements.
Massport has supported higher wages for workers at the airport who are contracted by airlines.
Last year, the Board voted to require employers to accelerate the minimum wage payments by $1 per hour above state rates for some employees.