For immediate release
August 17, 2009
Hundreds of Airport Workers to Demand that Airport Concessionaire Delaware North be Denied New Airport Concessions Contracts
Over 400 LAX and Ontario airport concession workers packed the Los Angeles Board of Airport Commissioners meeting today demanding that any companies that are granted new concessions contracts provide good jobs for the thousands of workers employed at the two airports. Half of the airport concessions contracts expire next year and the Los Angeles Board of Airport Commissioners opened up the first phase of the bidding process for these contracts, which have been in place since 1995, by issuing a Request for Proposals in June of this year. Current food service concessionaires include, Host, Delaware North, CMS and Camacho. Gift shop concessionaires include Hudson News, Crews of LA, Jetway, and I Love LA. Concession contracts could change hands in November, potentially impacting the quality of jobs of hundreds of workers. UNITE HERE Local 11 currently represents over 1400 food and retail concessions workers at LAX where workers receive free family health insurance and wages range from $10.17 – $13.93 an hour with guaranteed periodic wage increases.
"We are the first people to greet visitors when they arrive in Los Angeles. We take pride in our work and we want to make sure that any new company who comes into the Airport will respect the standards we have set. We need to ensure that our jobs remain good jobs so we can support our families, said Marlene Mendoza a food service worker at HMS Host."
Workers also demanded that the Board of Airport Commissioners not consider bids from the Delaware North Corporation, currently the second largest food concessionaire at LAX, until the company pays the Living Wage at the Ontario Airport. In May, the City of Los Angeles’ Office of Contract Compliance (OCC), issued a ‘Notice to Correct’ to Delaware North, for possible violations of the city’s Living Wage Ordinance at the Ontario Airport, where the company is the largest food concessionaire. "The wage scales for Delaware North workers at the Ontario Airport are lower than the city’s Living Wage rate. We don’t believe that any company in current violation of city law should be considered for future contracts with the city of Los Angeles," said Tom Walsh, President of UNITE HERE Local 11.
The tourism industry in Los Angeles is the backbone of the Los Angeles economy. In 2007 there were over 25 million visitors to Los Angeles and tourists spent $14.2 billion in the local economy. Airport concessions generated $268,681,064 in revenue in 2008. As Los Angeles, like the rest of the country, contemplates how to recover from the current economic crisis, workers warned that we risk failure by losing sight of the need to ensure that good jobs are part of the equation for recovery. Workers presented the Los Angeles Board of Airport Commissioners with demands that included that new concessionaires maintain and improve upon the standards for wages and benefits that workers currently have in their union contracts including free family medical insurance and employee pension plans and that any new employers recognize and respect the job seniority of employees.