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"Massport workers demand probe of 'substandard' conditions"
Thursday, May 24, 2012
Airport workers demand probe of 'substandard' conditions
By Ira Kantor
The Boston (MA) Herald
Contracted Logan Airport workers, community allies and union reps plan to
converge on Thursday's Massachusetts Port Authority's monthly board meeting
to ensure chairman Richard Davey follows through with his February promise
to investigate "substandard working conditions" at the airport.
"We're urging Massport to follow the example of some other airports and
public jurisdictions and raise standards for contractors that operate on the
airport premises," said Dan Nicolai, organizing director for SEIU Local 615,
which is helping the workers. "We understand that the authority has to
carefully, seriously consider this."
The union claims most contracted workers who provide such services as gate
security, airplane cleaning, baggage handling and wheelchair services at
Logan make $8 to $9 an hour, while others make below minimum wage.
While Massport spokesman Matt Brelis said the authority was "sympathetic" to
affected workers and "researching the issue, which is what Secretary Davey
... was asked to do," he added that workers were not Massport employees nor
working with companies contracted with the organization.
All companies Massport has contracts with "are required to pay a prevailing
wage," Brelis said.
Yet Nicolai said Massport needed to take a universal stance on the issue in
the wake of San Jose, San Francisco and Los Angeles passing laws requiring
airport contractors to pay living wages and offer benefits.
"They need to set the example," Nicolai said, adding nearly 18,000 people
work at Logan.
City Councilor-at-Large Felix Arroyo said Massport's investigation was
"going slow." Boston, Lynn and Revere City Councils all have passed
resolutions asking Massport to look into Logan airline contracting
"In the end, Massport is the airport. We're talking about workers that work
at the airport and whether they like it or not, I believe they have some
responsibility to all workers on the property," Arroyo said. "I appreciate
they are investigating it, but I'm also sympathetic to the workers."
Davey could not be reached for comment.
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