LAX employees are threatening to strike over being denied healthcare on Thanksgiving eve, the busiest travel holiday of the year.
A coalition of labor and community leaders is calling for the protest of alleged violations by LAX contractor Aviation Safeguards for breaking a healthcare contract with the airport earlier this year.
Andrew Gross-Gaitan, the director of the Southern California Airports Division, told KNX 1070 News Radio that Aviation Safeguards left more than 400 LAX workers without affordable family health care when it failed to comply with the city’s Living Wage Ordinance.
“When people’s lives are on the line, their family members are on the line, they’re not going to be able to enjoy their Thanksgiving,” said Andrew Gross-Gaitan.
“This is really a critical moment for thousands of workers.
“We’re looking at thousands of workers who may face their family benefits being cut,” Andrew Gross-Gaitan added.
“There is one worker whose wife is literally dying of liver cancer, and this has been going on for close to a year. The families of these workers are really in crisis.”
As many as 1,000 airport workers and union supporters are expected to march on Century Boulevard just as an estimated 1.8 million passengers are expected to travel through LAX over the holiday weekend,CBS reports.
Last May, an estimated 1,200 LAX employees protesting unfair labor laws, picketed outside the airport and prevented passengers from entering.
Andrew Gross-Gaitan said there is definite potential for severe disruptions to airport operations during the protest.
“It’s entirely possible there will be significant travel delays,” he said.
Martin Terrones, Communications Coordinator for the labor union United Service Workers West, downplayed the event.
“It’s not really a strike or a walkout,” he told L.A. Weekly.
“But it is going to be an action none the less.”
Some delays are already creeping up across the country as Thanksgiving nears.
San Francisco International Airport had delays all day Friday due to rain. In Charleston, South Carolina, passengers were frustrated over glitches in a new radar system that caused mass delays.
As of Saturday, U.S. flights were largely on time, with few delays over 15 minutes, according to the Federal Aviation Administration.
However, that might change with the weather.
“A Pacific storm train may bring the biggest travel problems for Thanksgiving to the Northwest,” reports Accuweather.
“While there may be some fog that delays travel in the major cities of the Northeast.”
Bottom line: “Between the East and West coasts, fewer widespread weather-related travel delays are forecast.”