New York’s JFK and LaGuardia airport staff call off strike

22 July 2015 (Last Updated July 22nd, 2015 18:30)

Around 1,200 security officers, wheelchair attendants and baggage handlers from the Command Security Corporation (CSC) have suspended plans to strike at New York's John F. Kennedy (JFK) International Airport and LaGuardia Airport on Wednesday.

Around 1,200 security officers, wheelchair attendants and baggage handlers from the Command Security Corporation (CSC) have suspended plans to strike at New York's John F. Kennedy (JFK) International Airport and LaGuardia Airport on Wednesday.

Supported by Service Employees' International Union Local 32BJ, employees of CSC subsidiary Aviation Safeguards (AVSG), the 24-hour strike action was intended to reach an agreement over employees' demands for higher wages and affordable health care.

The strike was called off, after 32BJ struck a deal with the contractor to allow Service Employees International Union to attempt to organise employees.

"This process guarantees that the employees of AVSG will maintain their right to choose representation or not."

CSC said in a statement: "We believe that this effort is in the best interest of our employees, customers, and the passengers of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey.

"This process guarantees that the employees of AVSG will maintain their right to choose representation or not.

"Furthermore, our employees will be guaranteed a peaceful environment in which to make this decision."

It added that the employees will make the final decision about union representation.

Labor union representative 32BJ is fighting hard to raise the pay for all subcontracted airport workers from the present $10.10 an hour to at least $15 an hour, as well as for affordable health care benefits.

SEIU 32BJ president Héctor J. Figueroa was quoted by the Wall Street Journal as saying: "Our fight continues but we have won today a significant step forward: the right to bargain, sit down with a company and improve our jobs and our lives."