City council approves ATL airport concessions worker retention measure


The Atlanta City Council approved a measure to require new airport concessionaires to retain workers of previous firms.

Labor union UNITE HERE has pushed for worker retention ordinances in other cities, and Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed’s administration worked with the union on the ordinance the city council approved Monday.

The ordinance establishes an airport service contractor worker retention program. It requires companies that win new concessions contracts at Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport retain workers of a former employer for a 90-day trial period, with certain limitations.

Without such an ordinance, whenever contracts are awarded to new companies to revamp restaurants or shops at the airport, “we face the chance of losing our jobs,” said Robert Davis, a server at the Cafe Intermezzo at Hartsfield-Jackson and a UNITE HERE member.

The workers must pass background checks and drug and alcohol testing, and the new measure does not apply to managers or executives. If the new concessionaire needs fewer employees, it would retain employees based on seniority.

“The idea here is we want to lessen the chaos that arises when there is a significant transition of concessions vendors at the airport,” said Melissa Mullinax, senior advisor to Reed. Of 6,000 concessions workers at the world’s busiest airport, about 1,400 are represented by the UNITE HERE union, she said.

The worker retention language is already written into recent solicitations for new concessionaires to operate airport shops at Hartsfield-Jackson.

“When new vendors are selected there’s no reason that the workers who have passed all the security tests, who have expertise and strong customer service skills, should lose their jobs during that transition period,” Mullinax said.

The airport concessions office would enforce the new measure, she said.

Changeovers in concessionaires would come after the award of contracts for airport shops in a massive revamp of retail at the Atlanta airport, and after the award of contracts for new restaurants on Concourse E. The airport shop contracts and Concourse E restaurant contracts have not yet gone to the Atlanta City Council for approval.

MYAJC.COM: REAL JOURNALISM. REAL LOCAL IMPACT.

AJC Business reporter Kelly Yamanouchi keeps you updated on the latest news about Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport, Delta Air Lines and the airline industry in metro Atlanta and beyond. You'll find more on myAJC.com, including these stories:

Never miss a minute of what's happening in local business news. Subscribe to myAJC.com.

In other Atlanta airport news:



Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Business

Amazon raises monthly Prime membership rate
Amazon raises monthly Prime membership rate

The monthly membership fee for Amazon Prime rose Friday from $10.99 to $12.99. Company officials said the annual membership will remain at $99 dollars. Monthly customers do not get access to Amazon Video, which costs $8.99 a month. The last Prime subscription hike came in 2014, when Amazon increased its yearly membership from $79 to $99. The e-commerce...
Top tips for selling your old stuff on eBay (and actually making cash)
Top tips for selling your old stuff on eBay (and actually making cash)

Too much clutter, too little money, too many gifts you didn't like... an eBay auction is one of the simplest solutions to all three issues. If your trash might be someone else's treasure, an eBay business is simple to start and accessible to just about anyone. "It has low start-up costs and it can be started out of your home," noted the ...
After mauling, Delta tightens emotional support animal restrictions
After mauling, Delta tightens emotional support animal restrictions

In the wake of a horrific mauling of a Delta passenger by another traveler’s emotional support dog last year, Delta is tightening restrictions on emotional support animals in flight. To travel with an emotional support animal, starting March 1 Delta Air Lines will require a “confirmation of animal training” form signed by the...
Metro Atlanta, Georgia officials to present united front to nab Amazon
Metro Atlanta, Georgia officials to present united front to nab Amazon

Georgia’s full-fledged competition for Amazon’s second headquarters has entered a new and unpredictable phase now that it’s on the tech giant’s short list. But the state’s hunt for another major headquarters three years ago could provide valuable clues into its strategy for winning the project. Georgia’s long...
Kempner: Amazon, thanks for sort of picking Atlanta, but …
Kempner: Amazon, thanks for sort of picking Atlanta, but …

Amazon, it’s not that we’re ungrateful for Atlanta being one of your Top 20 choices for your second headquarters and 50,000 delicious jobs. We’ll hold off celebrating or feeling like we’ve gotten some kind of affirmation until we figure out if you just like us a good bit or really love us. Yes, we do think we are all that...
More Stories