Boston, MA—Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey has cited aviation service contractor ReadyJet Inc. for failing to pay workers proper overtime hours worked at Logan International Airport. ReadyJet is the fourth aviation contractor to be fined at Logan Airport in three year.
Healey ordered Cleverdale, NY-based contractor to pay over $10,000 in civil penalties and $16,000 to 29 cabin cleaners and other passenger service workers for systematically underpaying them and for failing to keep true and accurate payroll records.
“Wage-theft is a widespread problem at Logan Airport and the Attorney General Healey should be commended for her diligent work and willingness to get to the root of it, said Roxana Rivera Vice President of 32BJ, the largest property service workers union in the country. “Irresponsible contractors shouldn’t be allowed to operate freely in our airports while keeping workers in poverty.”
ReadyJet, Inc., which provides cabin cleaning services to airlines at Logan including JetBlue, Delta, and US Airways, has an egregious record on health and safety and workers’ rights. ReadyJet has been cited at the state and federal levels for violating workers’ rights, and is under investigation for additional violations. The company continues to punish workers, cutting their hours and intimidating them from exercising their rights.
In July 2014, the Massachusetts Attorney General ordered ReadyJet to pay employees $13,045 restitution for illegal wage deductions, plus a civil penalty of $5,000. The AG’s office found that money was deducted from 226 workers’ paychecks between July 2012 and May 2014 to pay for TSA badges and uniforms.
32BJ SEIU has been helping workers employed by leading contractors, about 1,200 workers, organize themselves into a union. Nearly a thousand have signed cards to join 32BJ SEIU.
Contracted passenger service workers providing crucial services such as cabin cleaning, terminal security, baggage handling, wheelchair assistance, and sky cap services, currently struggle on low wages and lack basic benefits like affordable health insurance or paid sick time. In one of the most expensive cities in the nation, workers struggle to get by on poverty wages, often relying on food stamps or eating at food pantries, getting health care from MassHealth and other public subsidies to make ends meet despite working full time at the airports.
Jobs that were once direct airline positions with decent compensation have become low-wage, no-benefit positions. For years, these workers have petitioned employers, airlines and terminal operators; held rallies and taken to the streets to demand improved working standards that allow them to live with dignity, but working conditions have not improved.
With more than 150,000 members, including 18,000 in Massachusetts, 32BJ SEIU is the largest property service union in the country.