More than 4,000 employees who provide contracted support services at John F. Kennedy International, LaGuardia and Liberty-Newark airports have declared their intention to unionize with 32BJ of the Service Employees International Union.
In a statement issued Monday, 32BJ officials said of the approximately 12,000 contracted workers at the three airports, a total of 4,051 either have joined the union or have signed cards stating their intention to do so.
The workers are employed by companies that provide maintenance work, security and other services to the airlines.
Former Mayor David Dinkins was at Monday’s rally at Riverside Church in Manhattan to lend his support, according to union officials.
Some 2,300 already belong to other unions. Another 1,000, mostly security officers, are 32BJ members who work for companies that have contracts with the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which operates all three airports.
Back in January, the Port Authority directed four air lines — Delta, American, JetBlue and United — to give $1 per hour raises to any contracted employee making $9 per hour or less. Delta and American have signed on, but JetBlue and United have not.
Back in January, 32 people, including Congressman Charles Rangel (D-Manhattan) and Queens City Council members Daneek Miller (D-St. Albans), Jimmy Van Bramer (D-Sunnyside) and Ruben Wills (D-Jamaica), were arrested during a rally for the workers at LaGuardia when they blocked the 94th Street Bridge leading into the airport.
On April 4, the anniversary of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.’s assassination, hundreds of workers and their supporters marched 10 miles from Kennedy to LaGuardia.
King was in Memphis, Tenn. at the time of his death, where he had been supporting sanitation workers who were fighting for better pay and benefits.