County Supervisors Take Stand for Southwest Airlines Workers

Los Angeles, CA — Today, under the leadership of Los Angeles County Supervisor Janice Hahn and Supervisor Hilda L. Solis, the Board of Supervisors took a stand for worker’s rights and voted to send a letter to the President of Southwest Airlines, protesting their recent decision to end their contract with Gateway, a union contractor, and hire SAS Services Group, a non-union contractor with a history of frequent and rampant labor violations including wage theft.

Today, the livelihoods of the 110 union members who were previously employed by Gateway are in jeopardy.  Their jobs include assisting disabled passengers, cleaning cabins, and providing additional security in the terminal. Given both the critical nature of these jobs and SAS’s history of wage theft (they were fined by the California Department of Industrial Relations after stealing from 182 current and former employees), the County Board of Supervisors is calling on Southwest to insist that SAS keep the existing unionized workforce and recognize the worker’s collective bargaining agreement.

“The decision by Southwest Airlines to contract with a company best known for robbing its employees of their hard-earned wages is concerning,” said Supervisor Janice Hahn. “The County is a major customer of Southwest Airlines. We believe that employees are entitled to decent wages and good benefits, passengers should benefit from the high quality service provided by union contractors, and that these principles should be reflected in the companies the County does business with.”

“In LA County, we believe that employers should respect the rights of their workforce – including the right of workers to collectively bargain,” said Los Angeles County Supervisor Hilda L. Solis, who co-authored the motion. “As a former Secretary of Labor under President Obama, I know that when workers are empowered, respected, and treated with dignity, they have safer work environments and employers see increased productivity. We must stand with workers because supporting employees means a stronger economy for all. As a major customer of Southwest Airlines, LA County believes that SAS Services group should keep the existing unionized workforce and recognize their hard-earned collective bargaining agreement.”

The Board voted to send a letter to the President of Southwest Airlines urging the airline to take the necessary steps to ensure that SAS Services Group will adhere to all labor laws that protect workers and undertake responsible contracting standards for SEIU USWW members who currently service Southwest’s passengers at LAX or select a contractor that will do so.