Los Angeles | Today, over 200 airport workers appeared before the City Council to alert City Council that the escalating dispute at the airport has reached a point where workers have no choice but to look towards major work actions during the holiday season.
Workers have requested that the City pull Aviation Safeguards’ license from operating at the airport. In a year long battle AVSG has rejected all efforts to resolve this labor dispute.
AVSG – a passenger service provider at LAX – illegally walked away from their contract with the union earlier this year, leaving working families without affordable family health care.
“We’ve worked hard to improve our lives and gain health care for our families at the airport,” said José Lobera, a 77-year-old wheelchair assistant at AVSG. “Now that’s all gone. I have diabetes and my wife an ailing liver. I am no longer able to afford her treatment, which she desperately needs. That’s why I am ready to take action on November 21st – for my wife, our family and my co-workers.”
Earlier this year, AVSG walked away from its contract with over 400 LAX workers. Over the past nine months, AVSG has failed to comply with the City’s Living Wage Ordinance, refused to meet with the National Mediation Board, refused to honor contractual terms and refused to meet with USWW to resolve any disputes. Earlier this year, AVSG stopped paying the health care trust for our members’ health care at LAX. The trust estimates AVSG owes over $3.2M and counting for workers’ health care.
“By allowing the situation to continue, LAX is punishing the good contractors who do play by the rules. As a result, workers have been demonstrating week after week. They’ve had enough. Things at LAX have gotten out of control, and workers are ready to take action,” said Mike Garcia, USWW President. “Union and non-union workers are ready to take to the street for their children and for their families.”
LAX is an example of what’s wrong with our national economy. The 1% has gained at the expense of the rest of us. At LAX, good jobs that once helped workers and their families prosper now pay significantly less. Before, a ramp worker earning $28 per hour (in 2010 dollars) now makes $12. Despite working hard and making endless sacrifices, families are struggling to make ends meet.
In 2012, USWW’s 2,000 airport workers’ collective bargaining contracts are set to expire. These workers include cabin cleaners, wheelchair assistants, janitors, ramp and cargo workers, and baggage handlers. Through their hard work USWW members first helped pass the living wage, the provision of health care for airport employees, and the airports Contract Service Provider Policy.
For more information about our LAX campaign, please visit our FB page at www.tinyurl.com/goingnowhereatlax