SACRAMENTO, Calif. - The Board of Supervisors of California's capital city has voted 3-2 to reject "labor harmony" contract language that would have saved 100 union jobs. The June 15 vote was a slap at the jobs of unionized retail concession workers in the new Terminal B, now under construction and expected to open in 2011 at Sacramento International Airport.
"I am pissed, I am really mad!" declared Chris Rak, president of Unite Here Local 49, as union members and supporters rallied outside the County Administration Building after the vote. "That airport has been union for decades, and that airport will remain union for decades," he continued.
Airport contracts with concession owners are to be awarded this October, and the supervisors voted on the contract criteria for businesses catering to airline passengers. Previous agreements had included the requirement that businesses negotiate with the unions representing their workers, while the unions on their part agreed not to strike, picket or boycott at the airport.*CORRECTION
Similar agreements are in force at the San Francisco, Oakland and Los Angeles airports, it was noted.
At a previous meeting on June 1, over 150 union members and supporters, wearing their distinctive red Unite Here T-shirts, filled the board chambers, testifying to the need to retain workers experienced in meeting the needs of airline passengers, and to the disadvantages to Sacramento County of visitors encountering picket lines and struck airport shops.
Local 49 has a reputation as an activist union, assembling enormous union/community picket lines accompanied by chanting, songs and noisemakers in front of hotels that resist union contracts.
Photo: Unite Here members rally at Sacramento County Administration Building. (PW/Gail Ryall)
* Editors' note: After publishing this story, we received the following e-mail. We will report any further clarification as it becomes available.
Thank you for taking the time to read this email. We know that the People's World is a great example of successful representation of the independent free press. We also know that accuracy is important to you and want to bring the following to your attention for possible clarification, such as what Gail Ryall did to clarify the jurisdiction of the Board of Supervisors in her recent story, "No labor peace at Sacramento Airport."
In the same story, the following paragraph seems a bit confusing to the reader:
"Airport contracts with concession owners are to be awarded this October, and the supervisors voted on the contract criteria for businesses catering to airline passengers. Previous agreements had included the requirement that businesses negotiate with the unions representing their workers, while the unions on their part agreed not to strike, picket or boycott at the airport."
To clarify, no previous agreements or those currently in effect with the Sacramento County Airport System for concessions at Sacramento International Airport contain labor harmony language. The Board of Supervisors did consider inclusion of the language in agreements to be released in relation to the RFP but voted to not include it.
Again, thank you for your time,
Gina B. Swankie
Communication and Media Officer II
Marketing and Public Relations
Sacramento County Airport System
*CORRECTION June 24, 2010:
Gail Ryall confirmed there was not a previous agreement, as the county airport media officer, Ms. Swankie, pointed out. We regret the error.