With a massive revamp of retail shops in the works at the world’s busiest airport, unionized concessions workers are pushing for job security measures.
UNITE HERE, a union that represents about 1,400 concessions workers at Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport, said it handed over about 400 petition signatures to Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed’s office this week asking for job protections.
Hartsfield-Jackson is inviting companies to submit proposals for more than 80 new retail shops around the domestic terminal and concourses.
It’s been more than nine years since the world’s busiest airport last awarded contracts for such a revamp of airport shops.
The airport often strikes contracts with concessions operators for seven to ten years, and puts the locations up for bid to replace the shops and restaurants after the contract is up.
“If a different company is chosen, we could lose our jobs,” said Faith Krevis, who works at the Cafe Intermezzo at Hartsfield-Jackson for concessionaire Airport Retail Management.
The union is proposing language for a worker retention ordinance that would apply to airport concessions employees.
Under the language the union is proposing, new companies selected to operate retail shops at the airport would have to retain workers for a transitional period, with certain conditions.
“We feel those that have put in the time and are dedicated deserve to be on a preferential hiring list, so they don’t lose their jobs, don’t lose their seniority,” said Bianca Garcia, an analyst for the UNITE HERE airport group.
A Reed spokesperson said in a written statement: “We just received their request and are reviewing it. We are hopeful that we can determine a solution that works for everyone.”