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Logan Airport contract workers return to Massport board meeting

Posted by Jeremy C. Fox  May 30, 2012 04:52 PM

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SEIU photo Massport 1.jpg

(Courtesy Service Employees International Union Local 615)

Airport workers and their supporters spoke before the Massport board.

Employees of contractors at Logan Airport returned to air their grievances before the Massachusetts Port Authority at a recent meeting.

The employees and their supporters from a coalition of pro-labor and community groups appeared at the May 24 meeting of Massport’s board of directors. The workers, many of them immigrants who speak limited English, have appeared at a series of recent events, including a February meeting of the board where Secretary of Transportation Richard A. Davey pledged to investigate their claims.

Some alleged that their demands for better pay, benefits, and working conditions have led to intimidation efforts from their managers, according to a spokeswoman for Service Employees International Union Local 615, a labor union that represents cleaning and security workers in Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and New Hampshire but does not represent the contractor employees, who are not unionized.

“Sometimes we are photographed and intimidated because we come to these meetings,” said Zerihen Ayele, a non-union wheelchair operator, according to the union spokeswoman. “Some of us make less than $8 an hour. I make $7.50 and cannot make tips. When we say something, the supervisor just says that if we want a better job, why don’t we just quit?”

Union member Evelyn Colon described the benefits she and her co-workers have that non-union workers are denied, including the opportunity to take English classes.

“We have health insurance and benefits,” said Colon, according to the union spokeswoman. “I would like to see my friends who do not have these benefits get them, to make it easier on their families.”

Follow East Boston on Twitter: @YourEastBoston.

SEIU photo Massport 2.jpg

(Courtesy Service Employees International Union Local 615)

Members of the coalition posed for a photo outside Massport headquarters.

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