Members of 32BJ SEIU held rallies at both JFK and LaGuardia airports last week to highlight issues surrounding some airport employees. For the last six months, the union has hosted similar rallies at the same airports.
They include people hired by outside contractors that provide services such as outdoor security and clean planes. Workers from PrimeFlight, AirServ, Aviation Safeguard and Airway Cleaners rallied last week demanding better wages and benefits.
“Things got so bad I had to send my two sons to live with their grandmother upstate in Poughkeepsie because I cannot afford to take care of them on my income,” said Daniel Scott, an Aviation Safeguard employee who works at LaGuardia Airport. “I make $8 an hour with no benefits. I cannot pay these bills.”
Scott’s story is not much different from his co-workers. One man has been working for Aviation Safeguard for over a decade and has never had a pay increase or benefit changes.
Workers claim that since they work for a contractor, they are paid significantly less than employees of the airlines or Port Authority.
A new advocate is councilman-elect Costa Constantinitdes, who will represent the 22nd District beginning in January. His district covers most of Astoria and, more importantly, LaGuardia Airport.
“Airport workers should not have to accept poverty wages or poor health coverage to keep our airports clean and secure, especially during this holiday season and one of the busiest traveling times of the year,” said Constantinides. “Earning a fair living wage also helps drive economic development, a benefit to the entire community.”