Swissport aircraft fuelers who are members of the trade union Teamsters Local 174 have voted overwhelmingly to strike at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport in the US.
A group of nearly 150 aircraft fuelers have authorised a strike against their employer, escalating their fight for a first contract with Swissport.
The workers, who fuel nearly all aircraft departing from Sea-Tac, have been working to negotiate a first contract since voting in March to join Teamsters Local 174.
They said progress of negotiations has been “slow and difficult”, as Swissport continues to stall negotiations by insisting on proposing language that undercuts local area standards.
Local 174 already represents a group of Swissport workers in the fuel tank farm at Sea-Tac Airport and said if a strike were to be called by the Teamsters, air travel out of Sea-Tac Airport would come to a halt, as aircraft would be unable to refuel.
Local 174 director of negotiations, Patty Warren said: “Swissport management did not believe their employees were serious about getting a strong first contract.
“This nearly-unanimous strike vote should make it clear to Swissport that their bullying tactics will not work. It is time to get serious about the negotiating process or it’s going to be an interesting holiday season.”
Local 174 secretary treasurer and joint council 28 president, Rick Hicks added: “A strike authorization vote can be daunting for a newly-organized group, but these workers rose to the challenge and spoke clearly with one voice: they will not tolerate Swissport’s intimidation.
“We are proud of our new members’ courage and resolve, and we hope this vote will send a powerful message to their employer that they need to reconsider their anti-worker positions if they want to reach a contract without a strike.”