JFK Airport contract workers go on strike

12 February 2015 (Last Updated February 12th, 2015 18:30)

Contract workers at New York's John F Kennedy Airport in the US went on strike yesterday to protest what they term as 'unfair labour practices', despite a recent warning of consequences, including termination.

Contract workers at New York's John F Kennedy Airport in the US went on strike yesterday to protest what they term as 'unfair labour practices', despite a recent warning of consequences, including termination.

The workers on strike are employed by Aviation Safeguards, a part of Command Security that provides New York City's airports with baggage handlers and security guards.

Approximately 100 of these workers handle baggage for British Airways and United Airlines at JFK.

"We want to make sure the employees are aware and not surprised by what the law is."

Workers say that they have resorted to strike because of the lack of union representation, low wages and a hostile working environment.

They held signs reading 'Stop Illegal Threats' after Aviation Safeguards recently sent a letter to its employees informing them about possible consequences, such as termination for going on strikes and speaking out.

However, the Guardian quoted Command Security CEO Craig P Coy as saying that the intention of the letter was to inform its workers about the consequences of stike under the Labor Act.

"There have been no threats. There has been none of that. We want to make sure the employees are aware and not surprised by what the law is," said Coy.

The staff of JFK was also joined by other employee, including security guards and baggage handlers from LaGuardia.

The strike has been organised by 32BJ SEIU union. According to reports in the Associated Press and the Wall Street Journal, close to 3,800 contractors' employees voted to be represented by the union in May last year.

However, the Port Authority and a British Airways spokesperson have confirmed that there is no impact on flight operations.