In First, NYC Area Airport Workers Unionize

NEW YORK (AP) -

Several thousand contract workers employed at the New York City area’s major airports voted Monday to join a union after campaigning for better pay and benefits.

The workers cheered as representatives from about a dozen major airport contractors stood and announced their support for joining the union in a packed Harlem church. About 4,000 workers signed cards expressing their wish to join the
32BJ Service Employees International Union, including baggage handlers, security officers, cabin and terminal cleaners and others.

“No longer can we tolerate poverty conditions,” said the union’s president, Hector Figueroa. “And no longer can we remain invisible.”

About 12,000 contracted passenger service workers are employed at John F. Kennedy Airport, La Guardia and Newark Liberty. About 2,300 of them belong to other unions. Another 1,000 workers belong to 32BJ and are employed by other contractors with the Port Authority, which runs the airports.