More than 1,000 security officers, baggage handlers and wheelchair attendants at New York’s LaGuardia and John F. Kennedy International Airports voted unanimously to authorize a strike starting Wednesday night.
The contract workers will walk off the job JFK’s Terminal 7, home to British Airways, United Airlines and Cathay Pacific Airways, at 10 p.m., potentially causing travel headaches for thousands. The strike will continue through July 23 at JFK and LaGuardia, said Bloomberg.
“While the airlines have been making record profits and the Port Authority has approved billions of dollars to modernize LaGuardia airport, the airport workers who make these profits possible are struggling to survive,” said a news release from SEIU 32BJ.
The strike would be the largest since the start of a three-year organizing campaign by the union. Aviation Safeguards has made “repeated, illegal threats to workers,” who want to join, according to Bloomberg.
Aviation Safeguards has stopped workers from wearing union buttons, misrepresented their rights and threatened to fire them for striking, Bloomberg said.
The security officers going on strike patrol the halls and entries of the airports. They aren’t employees of the TSA, which handles airport checkpoint and baggage screening.
Command Security Chief Executive Officer Craig Coy, said the union’s allegations were false. The company hasn’t violated any laws, he said.
The Port Authority of New York & New Jersey, which runs New York City’s airports, said in a statement that the agency will work to avoid disruption of airline operations.
“The Port Authority has taken significant steps in recent years to encourage wage and benefit increases for employees of airline contractors at its airports,” the agency said in a statement.
JFK airport employs 37,000 while LaGuardia employs 11,000, according to Port Authority spokesman Steve Coleman.