DENVER, Colo. (KRDO) -- After months of negotiations with their contractor, Flagship Facility Services, three hundred and fifty janitors and members of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Local 105 that service the main terminals and concourses of the airport have walked off the job at 6 AM on Saturday morning without an agreement reached on their three-year contract to protest unfair labor practices.
A strike is planned for Saturday, November 20th at 2 p.m. at Denver International Airport outside the Westin Plaza.
A press release from The Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Local 105 writes, "The open-ended strike during the peak of Thanksgiving travel at DEN, the third-busiest airport in the world, is a last resort for Janitors responding to what they say is Flagship’s unfair labor practices and lack of a fair compromise on wages and workloads. Flagship's latest wage proposal still falls lower than inflation - amounting to what Janitors are seeing as a pay cut after being called heroes for the last 20 months."
“We’re on strike for fair wages and workloads.” said Luis Gonzalez, “We keep this place running, we put ourselves at risk every day, and we deserve to be able to put food on the table for the holidays. This isn’t easy for any of us, but neither is working a second job just to pay the bills. We’d love to be able to spend Thanksgiving with our families, but we’re doing this to make our jobs better, our communities better, and this airport better for everyone who has to travel through here for the holidays.”
According to SEIU, another janitor expressed outrage at Flagship’s refusal to allow employees to hold their contractually mandated quarterly meeting. “This just feels like retaliation,” said Hector Manzariego. The Union has filed an unfair labor practice charge with the National Labor Relations Board protesting the company’s unlawful behavior.
The Press Release from SEIU continues, "In response to stalled talks with Flagship, janitors in recent weeks have lobbied both the City of Denver and the Airport to take action. Both have the means to address these issues with Flagship’s contract directly, as they’ve done with other airport contracts, to secure livable wages for this essential workforce. Through the CARES Act and the American Rescue Plan, Denver International Airport received over $500 million in federal relief funds. The City of Denver has invested over $2 billion in much-needed infrastructure renovations to the Great Hall and expanding gate access at the airport."
“They’ve spent billions on construction projects and infrastructure at this airport.” said Amer Garsak, “But who makes that infrastructure work? Who keeps that infrastructure clean and safe? We do, and the workload required to get it done just keeps going up. We’re being asked to do more with less. We’re understaffed, we’re overworked, and we’re underpaid. Flagship, the Airport and the City can do the right thing for our families and raise the standards for good jobs DEN.”