Minneapolis airport workers authorize one-day strike

Hundreds of workers at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport have voted to authorize a strike. The roughly 700 workers involved in the vote include cabin cleaners, cart drivers, wheelchair agents and baggage handlers employed by Delta sub-contractor AirServ.

The results of the strike authorization vote were announced Monday afternoon at a Metropolitan Airports Commission, with 98 percent of workers voting to authorize a one-day strike. No strike date has been set.

What do they want?

The airport workers are part of a national movement for a $15 minimum wage, paid sick leave and worker retention policies. The group is also fighting for the right to form a union.

Ibrahim Mohamed, a cart driver at MSP Airport who was appointed to the MAC board last year by Gov. Mark Dayton, added his voice to the workers’ cause.

"In that time we have made significant steps, including passing paid sick time and a $1 wage increase for airport workers,” Mohamed said. “But now it is time for our employer to end the retaliation, respect our rights for better working conditions and allow us to form a union.”

AirServe statement

“AirServ respects the rights of our employees to seek union representation, and we currently maintain constructive union relationships at many airports nationwide.  At the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport, AirServ supports and complies with employment standards established by the Metropolitan Airports Commission just last year, including enhanced wages and benefits for all of our employees.

“SEIU Local 26 is free at any time to seek a government-administered secret-ballot election, where AirServ employees could freely choose a union representative.  Rather than do this, SEIU has asked AirServ to enter into a non-government organizing process where our employee’s choice of union representative would be verified by a third party.  AirServ has agreed in principal to participate in such a process, but we have not reached agreement with SEIU Local 26 on terms that would protect employee choice, assure smooth airport operations and avoid disruptions to the traveling public.   AirServ will continue working towards a fair resolution of these issues.”