The airport workers strike that was supposed to start at 10 p.m. at JFK tonight was canceled, 32BJ SEIU announced.
The union wrote,
“We are pleased to announce that the voices of 1,200 workers have been heard! In response to the concerns raised by Aviation Safeguards employees at LaGuardia and JFK airports, an agreement has been reached between Aviation Safeguards and 32BJ SEIU.This means there will be no strike action at JFK and LaGuardia airports today or tomorrow.
This agreement will bring the number of subcontracted airport workers who have won, or are on a path to win, 32BJ recognition to almost 7,000 – a majority of subcontracted workers at the airports. Negotiations for a union contract are expected to begin this fall.
Thank you for your support. Together, we won!”
Around 1,200 security workers, baggage handlers and wheelchair attendants at JFK International and LaGuardia Airports planned to strike starting Wednesday, according to service workers union 32BJ SEIU, a union that sought to represent them.
Workers planned to start picketing at Kennedy Airport at 10 p.m. Wednesday and then head over to LaGuardia at 6 a.m. Thursday.
Employed by Aviation Safeguards, a non-union subtractor for Delta, British Airways and United Airlines, those who planned to strike currently make the Port Authority-mandated minimum wage of $10.10 an hour. They were demanding a higher wage of $15 an hour, benefits and union representation.
Upon hearing workers demands, Aviation Safeguards had illegally stopped workers from wearing buttons, misrepresented their rights as airport employees and threatened to fire them for striking, according to union 32BJ SEIU.
The workers who were planning to participate in the strike notified Delta last week. According to officials, contingency plans were in place.
“While Aviation Safeguards and SEIU 32BJ continue to discuss their concerns, Delta will be taking measures to ensure that our more than 35,000 customers booked through LaGuardia on Thursday are not affected,” Delta said in a statement.
Both United and British Airways had plans in place as well.
Command Security’s Chief Executive Officer Craig Coy told Reuters that they “don’t anticipate any significant airport operations disruptions.”
Coy also noted that only 250 workers were expected to strike despite the more than 1,000 workers that voted unanimously for the strike.
This would be the first time airport security officers went on strike during the three-year national campaign for higher wages, benefits and union representation, 32BJ SEIU said, and with the union expecting more than 1,000 workers to participate, it may be the largest action airport workers have taken so far.