New York (Sept. 24) — In the wake of a nearly $1 million wage theft settlement, contracted airport workers have filed a new class action lawsuit for wage and hour violations at JFK and LaGuardia airports. With so many violations being reported 32BJ has decided to open a 24-hour hotline for workers to report wage theft.
Skycap David Harrison is one of the employees included in the Attorney General’s $925,000 settlement against Alstate Maintenance LLC for paying employees far below the minimum wage. He says, “while this is a win for us, I hope it inspires other airport workers to stand up for their rights. I know so many others who deal with the same issues.”
Various lawsuits, governmental investigations, and reports from airport workers, have shown that wage theft and other wage and hour violations are rampant amongst low-wage subcontracted passenger services workers in NY and NJ.
On September 3, JFK cabin and terminal cleaners filed a class action lawsuit against their employer, Airway Cleaners LLC. The airline contractor has a history of wage and hour complaints at airports in New York, Boston and Philadelphia and employs more than 2,000 people in 14 airports nationwide. In the most recent lawsuit, cabin and terminal cleaners claim that Airway
- has not paid them for all the hours they work;
- has not paid them properly when they work shifts longer than 10 hours.
- has not paid legally required uniform maintenance fees.
Employees of various other contractors have reported similar wage and hour violations and are discussing the possibility of filing suit. But it is often hard for workers to report wage and hour violations themselves and there is little information on the scope of this issue at the airports. In the wake of increasing reports of wage and hour violations, 32BJ SEIU wants to work with subcontracted airport workers to document and file complaints against employers who are breaking the law.
To do this 32BJ has launched a new wage and hour hotline to record and eventually report wage theft and violations at the airports on a larger scale. The hotline will be available in four languages— English, Spanish, Bengali and Haitian Creole – and non-union Airport service workers can fill out a survey at povertywagesdontfly.tumbler.com/wage-theft or call the hotline directly at 844-OUR-WAGE (687-9243).