LOS ANGELES, Calif.—Some 600 ground-operations workers facing mass layoffs at Los Angeles International Airport may go on strike if their employer doesn’t improve its minimal severance-pay offer.
Contractor Swissport International, which provides ground services at airports in 50 countries, plans to eliminate its cabin-cleaning, ramp, mechanics, and passenger-service departments at LAX, possibly as soon as next month. It has offered the workers in those departments severance pay ranging from $600 if they’ve been with the company for less than two years to $1,400 for workers with 15 or more years on the job, Nicolas Fernandez of the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers told the Los Angeles Daily News. “That’s the entire package… and there are people who have been working with this company for 40 years!” he said. “I’m trying to keep them at the table. We’re trying to bargain in good faith.” The union has proposed severance packages ranging from $1,000 to $15,000, but has not gotten a response from Swissport, according to Fernandez. “Our members are getting to the point that if we don’t hear back, they may walk off the job,” he said.