Airline service workers vote to authorize strike


About 500 workers, whose jobs include service skycaps, baggage handlers, wheelchair attendants, security personnel and airplane cabin cleaners, want improved training, higher wages and access to better family health care, according to Lily Wang, a spokeswoman for Service Employees International Union.

The union represents about 2,000 workers at SFO. Approximately half are in contract negotiations, and 500 of the workers, who are employed by PrimeFlight Aviation Services and G2 Secure Staff, were voting whether to strike, Wang said.

On Thursday the workers set up a ballot box on the departure curb in front of American Airlines at the airport from 5 a.m. until about 10 p.m. to let workers on all shifts vote, union spokesman Mike Chavez said. About 98 percent of the workers voted in favor of the authorization to strike.

"They really don't want to strike," Chavez said. "But (with) the way things are going, they voted to say that this is a possibility."

The workers believe improving the quality of their jobs would directly affect service and security for passengers at SFO, according to Chavez.

"The vote really shows that workers are ready and willing to stand up and fight for better quality jobs, which are directly connected to improving service and security at SFO," Chavez said.

There is "still hope that things will move forward positively," Chavez said regarding the contact negotiations. "We're just going to have to play it day by day."

Chavez said the strike is not definite and there are no dates set to begin striking.

Officials at PrimeFlight Aviation Services and G2 Secure Staff were not immediately available for comment.

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