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JFK Airport Security Workers Charge Ongoing Wage Theft

A delegation of workers delivers letters outlining their complaints to JFK International Air Terminal, which operates Terminal 4. (32BJ SEIU)
A delegation of workers delivers letters outlining their complaints to JFK International Air Terminal, which operates Terminal 4. (32BJ SEIU)
June 15, 2018

NEW YORK – Airport workers at John F. Kennedy International Airport allege that the same security firm that settled a wage-theft lawsuit last year hasn't changed its ways.

The workers claim that Global Security Consulting Group is continuing to violate New York state wage and hour laws by not paying legally required uniform allowances, and wage premiums for people who work split shifts and shifts longer than 10 hours. And according to Rob Hill, a vice president with the Service Employees International Union Local 32BJ, the company is a repeat offender.

"It appears that even after settling the lawsuit for $700,000 of wages for workers that they didn't pay, they're continuing the same practice of stealing from their workforce," says Hill.

On Thursday, workers sent a delegation with letters detailing their complaints to the JFK terminal where Global is the security contractor for most of the airlines. Global Security did not respond to a request for comment.

Shakira Lewis, a security worker employed by Global, says the missing pay is really adding up.

"Every two weeks that I get paid, there's been at least $200 to $300 I've been missing on my check,” says Lewis. “And every time I go to them and ask them about it, they know nothing. I fill out the discrepancy forms and that don't even get handled at all."

Lewis, who is pregnant, also has filed a complaint saying Global placed her on unpaid leave after she requested transfer to an indoor post on instruction from her doctor.

Hill adds while other companies at the airport schedule their work so that workers are paid for all the hours they are there, Global schedules work by flights, leaving workers with hours of unpaid time between shifts.

"Over an hour of time – in this case, it's more like five hours – that people have to sit between work shifts. They have to be paid for at least an hour, and that's not happening,” says Hill. “That was the settlement that they got in trouble for before."

Global employees at JFK recently delivered a petition to management asking that their wage and scheduling issues be addressed.

Andrea Sears, Public News Service - NY