The International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAM) today assured its members that Alaska Airlines’ new ground handling company will not displace IAM-represented workers in any location where IAM workers are currently located on Alaska’s system. Alaska Airlines expects the wholly-owned subsidiary, McGee Air Services, will launch in late summer, falling in line with other major airlines that have also created subsidiary ground handling companies.
“Our first priority is to assure IAM members at Alaska Airlines that their jobs are secure. This announcement of a new Alaska subsidiary will not stop us from fighting for work at Alaska Airlines that we believe we have a right to,” said District 142 President Dave Supplee. “It’s clear that U.S. airlines want more control over their operations by creating these in-house ground handling entities.”
In a statement, Alaska Airlines vowed that McGee Air Services would not be used to displace its own employees, but would “compete” for ground handling work where it currently outsources ramp service functions and may look to service other airlines at some point in the future.
“While McGee Air Services will not replace IAM jobs at Alaska Airlines, vendors such as these put downward pressure on industry wage and benefit levels, and that’s a problem,” continued Supplee. “If airlines refuse to utilize their own staff to perform these necessary airline functions because management believes it’s too expensive, then we need to continue to organize these companies nationwide and raise their standards.”
Last year, United Airlines launched United Ground Services, joining Delta and American who previously created internal ground handling companies, most of which are largely not unionized.
“Workers at ground handling companies perform the same jobs as workers at major carriers but receive much lower wages, benefit levels and routinely are disrespected on the job,” said Supplee. “This hurts them and workers at major airlines. It’s truly an example of an injury to one is an injury to all.”
“It’s imperative that we focus on organizing the workers and raising the standards at ground handling companies to increase our power inside the fence at airports around the country,” said Supplee. “Workers deserve the dignity, respect and benefits that come with a union contract, whether they work for a ground handling company or an airline.”
PRESIDENT & DIRECTING