LAX Workers Plan to March on Thanksgiving Eve

The march is over a contract that unions said was broken by an airport passenger services contractor

By Melissa Pamer
|  Sunday, Nov 18, 2012  |  Updated 1:56 PM PDT
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LAX Workers Plan to March on Thanksgiving Eve

LA County Fed head Maria Elena Durazo speaks at an event Friday announcing a planned march of airport workers at LAX on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving.

On one of the busiest travel days of the year – the day before Thanksgiving – union workers at LAX plan to protest alleged unfair labor practices at the airport.

Unions announced Friday that they planned to march at Los Angeles International Airport next Wednesday, Nov. 21.

Workers plan to march on Century Boulevard for about three hours that day to draw attention to a dispute between a local branch of the Service Employees International Union and LAX contractor Aviation Safeguards, which provides passenger services.

The union is calling it the Century Progress March, and saying that more than 1,000 workers and supporters are expected.

Union officials said about 400 airport workers were left without a contract earlier this year when Aviation Safeguards, a division of Command Security Corp. of Parsippany, N.J., terminated union contracts and withdrew health insurance.

"By allowing the situation to continue, LAX is punishing the good contractors who play by the rules," said United Service Workers West President Mike Garcia in a statement. "Things at the airport have gotten out of control, and workers are ready to take action."

Backed by purple-clad workers, union officials held a press conference at the airport Friday morning to announce the planned march.

SEIU represents janitors, baggage handlers, wheelchair attendants, skycaps, security guards and other service workers at LAX.

"These are the services that make LAX a great airport," said Maria Elena Durazo, head of the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor, at the event. 

"Shame on a company like Aviation Safeguards that does not acknowledge the hard work that they do for the city of Los Angeles and the travelers who come to our city."

The march will start at Airport and Century boulevards and proceed west along Century toward the airport entrance.

Los Angeles World Airports, the L.A. city agency that operates LAX, did not immediately comment on the march plans or any potential impact on airport operations.

The agency is forecasting the Sunday after Thanksgiving to be the busiest day of the holiday travel period. LAX is expected to see the nation's second-highest number of passengers this Thanksgiving, after Chicago's O'Hare International Airport.

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