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32BJ to Port Authority: ‘Hurry up!’

Stephon Johnson | 7/30/2015, 12:54 p.m.

While Aviation Safeguard workers achieved a victory last week, the rest of New York’s local airport workers were left dealing with broken promises.

After learning of the Port Authority’s announcement to convene a task force to study raising wages for all airport workers, the union 32BJ responded in a statement. Officials called out the organization for not getting on the ball soon enough.

“The Port Authority has stalled on its own plan for higher wages and benefits for 12,000 contracted airport workers making poverty wages and is now nearly 10 months past the deadline it set for itself for implementation, much less a vote to pass the plan,” read 32BJ’s statement. “While it is unclear what remains to be discovered after months of delay and a commissioned wage study, we are heartened to learn that the task force announced today will be led by a trusted labor leader who understands the urgent need of underpaid and under-represented workers.

“We trust that this newly formed task force will come to a rapid and complete resolution to this long-delayed process. We look forward to working with Commissioner [Raymond] Pocino and the rest of the task force as airport workers continue their fight for dignity and respect on the streets, at the airports and in the public arena.”

Last week, Aviation Safeguard workers reached an agreement that includes Aviation Safeguards agreeing to be neutral on their employees’ efforts to join 32BJ SEIU and recognizing 32BJ as their employees’ union of choice. They also agreed to negotiate a contract if most of their employees sign cards authorizing 32BJ to be their union representative through a card check procedure.

Now, the union is back on the offensive, hoping that the Port Authority sees the error in their ways.

“As the Port moves forward on a multimillion-dollar plan to modernize LaGuardia and as JFK airport spends millions on a luxury animal kennel, concerns about passing costs associated with family sustaining jobs onto passengers is disingenuous and misleading,” read the statement. “Under no circumstances should it be acceptable for anyone to work full-time and still be forced to rely on public assistance and live in poverty.

“The Port Authority has a responsibility to deliver on its promise and ensure the workers under its purview are able to live a decent life, not just one of survival.”