LOS ANGELES (CBS) — Hundreds of unionized workers and their supporters marched at Los Angeles International Airporton Thursday to protest what they called the hiring of “reckless” contractors who cut corners to save money.
Workers with the the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) began marching around 12 p.m. along the sidewalk outside the Tom Bradley International Terminal. The march created some pedestrian congestion, but passengers were not prevented from entering the building.
Airport police were on standby to ensure demonstrators yielded to passengers either entering or exiting the terminal. There were no immediate reports of any arrests or problems.
One protester told KCAL9′s Randy Paige that airlines are putting employee safety at risk by trying to cut corners.
“We want to make sure that we tell the airlines that they need to stop hiring reckless contractors who are going to walk away from any agreement that they make with unions and workers,” Martin Terrones said. “They need to stop trying to make profits by taking shortcuts in order to save money so they can make their own profits.”
Terrones gave an example of an airline hiring a contractor to clean an airplane.
“And [the airlines] say, `I’m going to pay you for 18 people to clean this airplane,”‘ he said. “What the contractors are doing
is, they’re hiring six people to clean an airplane and the workers are locked inside the airplane, they’re not given restroom breaks or water breaks most of the time.”
He said workers are often denied the cleaning products necessary to properly do their job and cited one colleague who claimed she was given only a rag and a bottle of water on a recent assignment.