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

Delta pushes for anonymity in second airport opposition
Delta pushes for anonymity in second airport opposition

In the protracted fight over creating metro Atlanta’s second commercial airport in Paulding County, supporters of the idea have long alleged that Delta Air Lines is funding lawsuits filed by residents challenging that effort. Delta says it’s no secret that it opposes the commercialization of the Paulding airport, 38 miles northwest...
Atlanta-based SunTrust says data on 1.5 million customers tapped
Atlanta-based SunTrust says data on 1.5 million customers tapped

Atlanta-based SunTrust on Friday said it feared that a now-former employee had wrongly accessed basic information about 1.5 million customers. The company became aware in late February that the person – an employee at the time – had access to confidential information including names, addresses, phone numbers and some account balances. However...
Delta adding more inspections of its Boeing 737 engines
Delta adding more inspections of its Boeing 737 engines

In the wake of the Southwest Airlines engine failure that left one woman dead, Delta Air Lines said it is adding more inspections of those engines in its fleet. Atlanta-based Delta’s entire Boeing 737 fleet has the same type of engines that were in the Southwest plane that blew an engine Tuesday. The CFM56-7B engine that blew on the Southwest...
Former FAA administrator joins Delta board of directors
Former FAA administrator joins Delta board of directors

Michael Huerta, the former administrator of the Federal Aviation Administration is joining Delta Air Lines’ board of directors.  Huerta served a five-year term as FAA administrator after being nominated to the position by President Barack Obama and sworn into office in January 2013. He stepped down at the completion of his term...
Georgia loses jobs in March, but unemployment rate steady
Georgia loses jobs in March, but unemployment rate steady

After two strong months, Georgia’s economy lost jobs in March. The number of jobs dropped by 7,400 during the month after adding 9,200 in January and 18,300 in February. The unemployment rate, which is calculated from a different, less extensive survey, held steady at 4.4 percent, according to a report issued Thursday by the Georgia Department...
More Stories