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Logan Airport Workers Go on Strike

Airport workers say JetBlue subcontractors have intimidated them for organizing. (BonnieHenderson/Pixabay)
Airport workers say JetBlue subcontractors have intimidated them for organizing. (BonnieHenderson/Pixabay)
February 8, 2018

BOSTON – Hundreds of workers at Logan International Airport went out on strike Wednesday afternoon, demanding fair treatment by subcontractors for JetBlue.

With about 2,500 subcontracted workers at the airport, the strike is being called one of the biggest worker-led actions at Logan in years.

The wheelchair attendants, baggage handlers, cabin cleaners and skycaps voted last week to authorize a strike.

According to Roxana Rivera, vice president of Local 32BJ of the Service Employees International Union, the two companies, FSS and ReadyJet, have subjected low-wage workers to illegal intimidation as they've organized for union representation and job improvements.

"In addition, they have had a pattern of wage theft and OSHA violations, and both the state AG's office and OSHA have fined both these companies a number of times," she states.

Neither ReadyJet nor FSS responded to requests for comment. JetBlue said it was preparing extra staff and expected the strike to have little impact on services.

Rivera says, so far, official sanctions for violations by the companies, including from the public authority that owns the airport, have had little effect.

"That's why we're saying it is up to the airlines to ensure that they have a contractor that doesn't break the law,” she explains. “It's incumbent on Massport to make sure that everybody that is at the airport is abiding by the law."

The strike has the support of Boston Mayor Marty Walsh and members of the City Council.

Rivera points out that the workers have not rushed into a strike, but they have reached a point where they feel it is necessary.

"It's not easy for low-wage workers to take these steps because they're under, already, a lot of strain,” she points out. “But they felt it was important to make a statement and stand up for their legal rights."

The workers have not set a limit on how long the strike could last.

Andrea Sears, Public News Service - MA