The self-proclaimed, “unabashedly progressive” and former union organizer Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa (born Antonio Villar), has ceded control over much of Los Angeles World Airports (LAWA) over to Service Employees International Union (SEIU) bosses. According to sources, for several years now, SEIU bosses have been running an LAWA-wide hiring hall known as First Source Hiring Program. When LAX employers attempt security verification of employees received from First Source, SEIU boss Mike Garcia threatens retaliation for the security conscious employers
Garcia wrote: “… federal immigration law only requires verification of employment authorization for new hires and requires reverification in limited circumstances, such as when an employee's work authorization document has expired. Reverification that is not required by law is a mandatory subject of bargaining. Federal law also does not require that employers register for and participate in the E-Verify program. E-Verify is a voluntary system. This means that, but for limited circumstances such as for certain federal contractors, participation in the system by employers is not mandated by law and an employer voluntarily chooses to enter into an agreement with DHS to use the E-Verify system. It is the Union's position that unless mandated by law, your company cannot and should not register for E-Verify…” without agreeing to SEIU demands.
Garcia’s intentions seem clear to some Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) employers: Don’t do background checks.
But, SEIU and Big Labor’s stranglehold over LAX, LA-Ontario International (ONT) and Van Nuys (VNY), the three airports under LAWA control, will soon come under a new LAWA bureaucracy that will expel all but five service providers for each LAWA-determined category of service. As the program was explained during the LAWA board meeting, this reduction, while dramatically reducing choices for airlines, will make labor unions happy. The new program has been in the works for two years and is called Certified Service Provider Program (CSPP).
The CSPP, possibly a violation of the National Labor Act, has a mandatory Labor Harmony requirement that the remaining service providers must sign to be permitted to operate, to help “ensure contractor responsibility.”
In the most recent CSPP draft available, the Labor Harmony contract is generally explained as follows:
Labor Harmony -- All CSPs covenant that its employees at LAX shall be able to work in harmony with all elements of labor employed at LAX. In the event that LAWA determines that it is necessary for public safety or the efficient operation of LAX to post police details or take other actions as a result of the inability of the CSP's employees to work in harmony with other elements of labor employed at LAX, the CSP shall reimburse LAWA for all reasonable costs incurred by doing so.
In other words, LAX service providers must agree with union officials’ demands or they will be forced to pay for any LAWA costs incurred controlling union rallies, attempts to disrupt the airport passengers, businesses, traffic or any other union-directed nuisances or damages.
LAWA has taken sides in current and future labor disputes by creating this unworkable CSPP scheme. And, this new airport bureaucracy is set to be funded at 10% of the service providers gross, adding new costs to every ticket, meal, shopper, and shipment in and out of LAX.
SEIU already runs the First Source, which is included in the CSPP plan, and it has been putting pressure on employers at the airports for many months. SEIU claims that LAX is “driving down standards for all workers” in LA. However, Mayor Villaraigosa and the City Council have created two LA ‘living wages’ – a higher one for the airport and a lower one for the rest of LA – more evidence that the city is trying to use the airport as a golden goose.
Mayor Villaraigosa, who appointed a majority of the LAWA board members, is turning LAWA into a 2012 sequel of On the Waterfront where union bosses controlled the ports with intimidation and regulations. This time the ports are airports.
Though the CSPP is nearing its final stages before implementation, it may not be too late for Congress to investigate and prevent the crippling of a major transportation hub.
According to LAWA’s website: LAX is the sixth busiest airport internationally and third in the U.S. ONT ranks 59 among U.S. airports. VNY ranks 25 internationally in the number of flight operations, and is the world's busiest general aviation airport.
While some may want to scoff and say this is what Hollywood gets; we ignore national impact at our own peril. LAX could become the weak link in airport safety. Nor should free people look away as others endure the bully tactics of the LA Mayor’s office and allow the LAWA board to force workers to pay union dues just to get a or keep a job at LAX.
But, action must happen fast. The LAWA board is to vote on implementation of the CSPP at its May 21st meeting.