Security guards at John F. Kennedy International Airport who had been threatening a strike around the holidays have decided to hold off pending meetings with their employers.
The employees of Air Serv Corp. and Global Elite Group Inc. had voted last week to authorize a strike on Thursday, five days before Christmas, over issues including training and equipment. The workers are not unionized but are being supported in their efforts by 32BJ of the Service Employees International Union.
On Tuesday, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which runs the airport, asked the workers and their employers to work together to resolve their differences "in time to ensure a smooth holiday travel season."
"The employees at Air Serv and Global Elite provide a valuable service at our airports and to the traveling public, and a strike at this time would be disruptive to millions of travelers and exact a toll on our economy," Port Authority Executive Director Pat Foye said in a statement.
Security worker Prince Jackson said the workers decided later Tuesday to hold off pending the outcome of meetings.
"We won't be striking right now," he said.
SEIU spokesman Michael Allen said the meetings were expected to take place in the coming weeks.
Air Serv, which is based in Atlanta and provides services to commercial passenger and freight airlines, said it valued its employees' input and would be speaking to them. Global, a worldwide security company based in Garden City, said it continues to have a dialogue with its workers.
The workers handle security issues such as directing traffic in front of the terminals at the airport, one of the nation's busiest, and making sure non-passenger areas including the tarmacs are secure. They had said their concerns include asking for more extensive training and better equipment including radios and outer gear such as proper winter coats.