For immediate release
July 25, 2011
Recommended companies cannot guarantee smooth transition
SAN DIEGO – Over one hundred airport workers rallied today outside Lindbergh Field’s Terminal 1, home of Southwest Airlines. Airport workers take issue with the San Diego County Regional Airport Authority’s recommendations for its new retail concessions.
"I’ve worked at this Airport for decades, through numerous transitions," said Donna Hernandez, a 40 year concessions employee at San Diego International. "We’re making noise today because right now retail workers don’t have any guarantee to keep their working standards when the new terminal opens."
In the last week, the Airport issued its recommendations for new food and retail concessions planned to begin at the end of 2012. Of the four major concessionaires recommended for the bulk of the new retail operations, three have not made commitments to avoid labor disputes and ensure a smooth transition. The uncertainty on retail is at odds with the Airport’s decisions on food concessions, where the recommended companies have committed to a comprehensive transition plan that includes assuming all of the costs associated with the massive workforce transition.
"All workers should be treated equally. We have some companies committing to us, and others that are not," said Mickey Kasparian, President of UFCW Local 135. "We’ve worked hard to ensure airport jobs are good jobs that can support families. It doesn’t make sense to have one standard on food and another on retail. It’s a mistake that could cost all of us in the end."
In anticipation of concessions changes the Airport Authority in December 2010 passed a worker retention directive to ensure a basic level of job security for all Airport concessions workers and give added consideration to companies who made commitments beyond the minimum requirements. In a memo to the Airport, UNITE HERE urged that awards be withheld until further review.
"We spent almost a year working with the Airport on the worker retention rule that provided added weight to concessions proposals that guaranteed smooth transitions and no disruptions," said Brigette Browning, President of UNITE HERE Local 30, the union representing a majority of Airport concession employees. "The retail recommendations undercut those goals. The Airport should reevaluate the scores and recommendations before moving forward."
The recommended large retail companies who cannot guarantee their operations will be free of labor disputes and related legal and administrative costs to the airport are Pacific Gateway Concessions, Hudson News and Stellar Partners. The Airport is expected to issue most of its awards on August 4th. However, some decisions will wait at least another month. Over 60% of the Airport’s food concessions received no interest and must be rebid.
UNITE HERE Local 30 is San Diego’s hotel and hospitality workers union, representing approximately 4,500 hotel, gaming, airport and food service workers throughout San Diego County. UNITE HERE is the union for travel hospitality workers, representing 25,000 airport workers across the U.S. and Canada.