Nearly three dozen MSP airport workers represented by Minneapolis based union SEIU 26 are losing their jobs as of June 1st. These workers are suddenly out of work and are being replaced by non-union workers in what the union is, "a clear attempt at union-busting."
IHS is a new subcontractor taking over the contract for line queue and porter jobs.
Under the proposed IHS plan nearly all of the workers, former G2 employees, will be replaced by new, non-union workers despite the Metropolitan Airports Commission (MAC) policy requiring worker retention when new contractors take over current jobs.
In a statement, the Metropolitan Airports Commission explained why they changed contracts from a union to a non-union firm, "Over the past few years, the MAC has received complaints from customers and concerns from airline and federal partners regarding the quality of service provided by G2 employees."
Workers argue that the move to a non-union employer is instead an attack against their hard fight union rights resulting in discrimination against East African workers.
Ayele Teklab, who has worked at MSP for over 8 years, spoke at the event about what this sudden news has meant to dedicated airport staff.
"I am here today to talk about how frustrated I am with what IHS has done to workers who have dedicated so much time to this airport. So many of us have worked hard over the last 10 years to not just provide excellent customer service, but to win our union and raise wages. Now that wages are going up, the MAC is allowing for a contractor to come in get rid of many East African workers. I'm not just disappointed in the MACs action; I am worried about my future if this is allowed to stand as I am a father of three children and have bills to pay," said Teklab. "When they switched contractors, I wasn't worried at all about keeping my job, as I've always had great feedback from the customers we help here. This airport is successful because of the workers who make it run, and now they are trying to get rid of us. This is wrong. I hope the MAC does not allow this move to stand. Discrimination and union busting are wrong. We've given so much to this airport. We should be talking about how longtime employees should be getting rewarded, not kicked out of the jobs we have done for decades."