LOS ANGELES, CA (August 28, 2008) – Airline service workers representing the 2,500 employees who provide services from ‘curb to cabin’ at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) walked off the job at 1:30 p.m. today in response to contractors’ civil rights abuses and failure to bargain in good faith.

Service contractors who provide cleaning, security, wheelchair assistance, and baggage handling services for airlines at LAX have refused to provide the quality jobs with access to affordable health care needed to ensure the highest-quality services and security for airline passengers.

At a bargaining session today near LAX, the companies-G2 Secure Staff, Air Serv, Aviation Safeguards and Aero Port Services again refused to make a proposal to the workers about improvements in training or wage and benefit increases, despite months of negotiations and the presence of a federal mediator at this week’s talks. In the last several weeks, workers also have begun reporting incidents of threats and harassment by their supervisors on the job over their support for the union.

“No one wants to have to strike, but they have given us no other choice,” said Jose Hernandez, a wheelchair assistance worker with Aero Port Services and member of the airport workers’ bargaining committee. “We’re proud to take care of the passengers who need it most, but we also need to be able to take care of our families. Good jobs and good service for passengers go hand in hand.”

LAX airport service workers are paid an average of only $10.50/hour or $19,000 per year – far short of the $54,000 per year the Economic Policy Institute reports it would take to support a family of four in California.

For months, workers, passengers rights advocates, clergy and community leaders have been calling for improved training, more adequate equipment and wage and benefit increases that would stem turnover rates among airline service workers currently as high as 50 percent annually.

The strike comes right before one the nation’s busiest long weekends.